Crossing the Causeway between the Woodlands and Johor CIQs can be a very bad experience and sometimes this is even an understatement. It can become a nightmare at times when vehicles are hardly moving at all turning the Causeway into a massive open air car park. I have driven under such situations before and commuters would rather alight from the buses and walk along the Causeway from Woodlands to Johor and vice versa. They could walk faster than we could drive and even under the hot sun, they would still prefer to walk rather than to get stuck in the massive traffic jams for hours.
This can be dangerous though as the Causeway is not pedestrians friendly and walking paths are not built into the Causeway. Moreover, after the stretch along the waterfront, the road takes an upward turn into an S-shape road leading to the Johor Immigration Complex. These people would then be walking on the road with no pavement to separate them from vehicles on the road. During traffic congestion, cars often squeeze into whatever space they can find leaving little room for others to share the road. Walking in between cars in a tight spot is not a good idea at all.
In fact in 2012, a traffic policeman was killed on the road during a traffic accident when he was on duty standing on the road divider quite near the Johor Immigration Complex. So walking on the road even when most vehicles are moving very slowly due to heavy traffic is a recipe for disaster when any party is careless on the road.
When the Malaysian Authority raised the toll charges on the Causeway last year, unhappy bus drivers protested and used their buses to block the entrance into the Johor Immigration Complex. Passengers had no choice but to clear Johor Immigration on foot and walked all the way on the Causeway to the Singapore Check Point in Woodlands. The entire stretch on the Causeway was so packed with people that morning we might think that a marathon was taking place.
So because of all the bad experience commuters have to endure from time to time, there is a recent report that some are resorting to taking risky short-cuts by walking on the rail line during peak hours in the morning and evening to beat the traffic jam. The is potentially dangerous even though they are not walking on the whole stretch of the Causeway. When KTM starts their shuttle service next month with 7 trips each way between the two CIQs, those who take such short-cuts on the rail line might be asking for trouble.
Heavy human and vehicular traffic during peak hours has been going on for a very long time. By risking one’s life to get ahead doing dangerous stunts is not really worth it.
For those who need to use the Causeway every now and then, checking the road conditions via traffic cameras on the two check points online before leaving home is a better solution than to contribute to more congestion on the road. If there is no need to get through the customs and immigration office during period of heavy usage, delay travel would be a better strategy than to waste precious time getting stuck on the road.
You can also download the apps onto your smart phones to check the traffic conditions if you are on the move. The traffic cameras have recently been extended into the Malaysian sides of Johor and Tuas Second Link which is a bonus indeed. You can decide whether you still want to make the trip if the road conditions are really very bad.
Even for those not driving, checking traffic conditions before leaving home is a good idea. If the Causeway has been jammed up, there is no point making that shopping trip into Johor Bahru. You are unlikely to have a smooth trip as the buses would be stuck in the traffic and waiting time for buses would become much longer, not to mention even more crowded. Unless you want to risk your life and limbs by walking across the Causeway when the bus you are on is moving slower than you can walk. Better to postpone the shopping or leisure trip to another time or day where you will get a much better experience and enjoy your time in Johor.
So be wise, stay safe and don’t risk your life on the altar of convenience. Happy commuting…