Plan to Ride a Motorbike across Causeway Every Day? Here’s What you Need to Know
Ask anyone who is staying in Johor and working in Singapore, they would tell you that the most effective and economical way of traveling to work is by motorcycle.
But it isn’t an easy task. In fact, the same people who tell you that it is convenient would tell you that the travel by the causeway is daunting and tiring. The number of motorcycle riders that commute every day via both causeways between both nations is staggering, making the journey even more tiring due to the time and effort it consumes.
According to the latest reports, 126,000 vehicles daily, including 4,000 trucks and lorries entering Singapore, on the kilometer-long causeway alone, and the Second Link has the capacity for 200,000 vehicles per day. The motorcycles registered for an auto-clearance crossing add up to almost 100,000 and most would likely use the causeway.
This means traffic in both bridges would be a challenge every day, but it is still considered a breeze compared to getting into the neighbor by car.
But before you even hop on the bike and ride to Singapore, there are many technicalities that need to be ironed out.
Your eligibility to enter/exit Singapore
Firstly, let’s rule out situations that may not allow you to drive a foreign-registered vehicle into Singapore. You cannot be:
1. Singapore Citizen
2. Singapore Permanent Resident
3. A resident in the country
4. Long Term Visit Pass Dependent's Pass holder
5. Student's Pass holder
6. Training Employment Pass or Work Holiday Pass holder
7. Work Pass holder who is also a resident of Singapore
If you are none of the above, and you are traveling for work into Singapore, then you must have in possession a work pass issued by the Ministry of Manpower. Even so, there are other criteria to be followed:
1. You must the registered owner of the vehicle;
2. Your permanent address is outside of Singapore;
3. You must possess a valid insurance certificate and road tax to use the vehicle on Singapore roads;
4. The vehicle is outside Singapore for more than six hours every day
5. The vehicle has an Autopass Card to validate its entry/exit at Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints and to pay for the required fees and charges.
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What must you have?
As a Singapore employee who travels every day via motorcycle to work, you must have the following in your possession at all times during your travel:
1. Valid passport
2. Identification card of origin country
3. Valid insurance for your vehicle
4. Valid Autopass card
5. Work permit
When you have all this done and dusted, you will need to get your Autopass Card.
Getting your Autopass Card ready
So, what is an Autopass card? An Autopass Card is what will store the record of your vehicle’s entries and exits to and from Singapore.
This card will also be used to pay for your entry and exit fees and would need to be constantly reloaded.
To paint a clearer picture, think of it as a Touch n’ Go reload card Malaysians use for local tolls.
Important point: Your Autopass Card only belongs to you. It is non-transferable and is linked to your vehicle therefore you cannot use it for another vehicle.
The pass can be purchased at the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP)/toll offices, which can be found at both Woodlands or Tuas Checkpoints.
To purchase it, you will need to produce your vehicle’s insurance certificate and road tax documents that are valid for the period in which your vehicle will be in Singapore.
The cards are available in two values:
1. $10 - with a pre-loaded cash value of $4 and a non-refundable card cost of $6.
2. $20 - with a pre-loaded cash value of $14 and a non-refundable card cost of $6.
You can pay for the card by:
· Cash (in Singapore currency only)
· (Network for Electronic Transfers) NETS, a Singaporean electronic payment service provider
· Locally issued credit/debit card
The card will need to be reloaded consistently so that you do not end up without sufficient balance during your travels. You can reload the card for a maximum of $500.
If you run out of balance, worry not. The card can be reloaded in many places, and in many ways, as listed below:
· Local Bank ATMs
· NETS Self-Service Stations
· NETS Top-Up Machines located at selected car parks
· NETS Sales & Customer Service Centre
· 7-Eleven stores
· FairPrice Xpress
Via credit and debit cards (Foreign and locally-issued)
· NETS FlashPay Reader App on Android smartphones with NFC capability (maximum top-up is $50 per transaction). You can find the app on Google Play
· General Ticketing Machines at MRT stations
· Auto Top-Up (for locally-issued credit and debit cards only)
Via cash and credit cards (Foreign and locally-issued)
-Top-up booths near Checkpoints
-Woodlands Autopass Card Top-up booths
-Tuas Autopass Card Top-up booths
Motorists of foreign-registered motorcycles will receive 10 free entries without having to pay VEP for 10 weekdays in a calendar year.
Once the free entries are used up, the motorists will have to pay $4 per weekday per entry, deductible on Autopass card. VEP is not applicable on weekends and public holidays.
Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)
The ERP system was introduced by the Singapore government to better manage road congestion. Basically, you will need to pay a fee when you ride your motorcycle through an ERP gantry when it is operating.
But fret not, the gantries are not found at all places and is only operational during certain hours. For motorcycles with Malaysian registration plates, you will need to purchase and install an in-vehicle unit (IU) and insert a stored value card with sufficient value in it.
ERP rates are adjusted to keep traffic moving at an optimal speed range of 20-30 km per hour on arterial roads and 45-65 km per hour on expressways.
Every unit has a label stating the IU number. You can also search for your IU number online.
The IU costs $155.80 at any LTA-Authorised Inspection Centre and accepts NETS CashCard, CEPAS (EZ-Link CEPAS or NETS FlashPay) card or Autopass Card.
Many people also consider using alternative routes, traveling outside ERP operational hours, or taking public transport instead of driving to avoid the charges.
Now that you have all that is needed for your entry into Singapore, let us look at the steps and processes you will need to follow when entering the country on a motorcycle.
There are two checkpoints to enter Singapore from Malaysia: Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints. Both checkpoints have a similar process in terms of entering and exiting the country.
When you reach the checkpoint, you will first reach a booth where you will need to scan your passport and provide an impression of your thumbprint. Once you pass this stage, the barrier for another booth will open to an immigration booth. Here, insert your valid Autopass card into the card reader. This will help you validate your entry.
In some instances, some of the motorcycle lanes ie manual lanes will require you to submit your working permit for validation.
Following this, you will reach the counter with the immigration officers who would proceed to check your belongings for any illegal possessions. Once you have cleared this, viola, you are in Singapore.
You will be using either one of the two checkpoints mentioned earlier. First of all, you must ensure that your Autopass card holds sufficient balance in order to pay all the road fees incurred during your travel in the country.
The process to exit Singapore is similar to when you are entering the country, except for one difference.
You will pass through a booth to validate your passport, provide your thumbprint impression and insert your Autopass card, but you will not encounter immigration officers to check on your belonging
Once you have passed through all counters, you will be back in Malaysia.
Points to note:
1. Always ensure you have all documents needed and Autopass has sufficient balance during your travel times.
2. Both causeways, in both directions, will start building up traffic from approximately 5.30 am and 5.30 pm. It is advisable for you to reach the causeways before that in order to beat the traffic and not delayed to work.
3. When you reach the immigration officers in the checkpoint, be sure to take off your safety helmet.
4. It is an offense to drive a foreign-registered vehicle into Singapore without a valid Autopass card. You may be fined for a maximum of $2,000.
5. If you are caught riding your motorcycle in Singapore without an IU, you will be facing a penalty of $70.00 for each operating ERP gantry you pass through.
6. Singapore has its own list of prohibited and controlled goods that you are not, in any circumstances, allowed to bring into the country. Breaking these rules may bring severe penalties.
7. If you have purchased a new motor insurance cover, you need to update your insurance expiry date in your Autopass Card at the L office located at the Tuas and Woodlands Checkpoints to avoid card errors when entering Singapore.
8. Calculate your ERP rates at specific locations.
9. You can also read up on Singapore road safety regulations.