The installation of 10 new immigration kiosks at Woodlands Train Checkpoint since March has improved clearance speed and capacity, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Wednesday (Jun 14).
Immigration clearance through these kiosks, the first of its kind at Singapore’s checkpoints, is similar to that at automated lanes. Eligible individuals can scan their passports as well as also have their biometrics captured. In a press release, ICA said that implementing additional automated lanes at Woodlands Train Checkpoint is not possible due to “infrastructure and space constraints”.
The kiosks, which take up less physical space, help address this issue. They are also arranged in clusters in order to maximise space and can clear both departing and arriving train passengers.
There are currently three automated lanes at the checkpoint. These lanes are similar to those found in the passenger halls of air and sea checkpoints today.
The increased clearance capacity enabled by the 10 kiosks will prevent overcrowding at the train platforms and allow arriving trains to turn around more quickly, added ICA.
Currently, the Woodlands Train Checkpoint clears 31 departing and arriving train trips, and close to 10,000 passengers daily.
Each self-clearance transaction at the kiosk takes approximately 24 seconds, as compared to 45 seconds at the manual counter, said ICA.
Singapore residents, long-term pass holders, and short-term visitors who had previously enrolled under the Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI) are eligible to use these kiosks to perform immigration self-clearance.
“The implementation of the self-clearance kiosks has provided travellers with a speedier clearance experience, while enabling ICA to redeploy some officers to areas that require more manpower support,” said Woodlands Checkpoint deputy commander and ICA superintendent Tong Weijie.
“Many travellers have welcomed this initiative. ICA will continue to adapt and innovate to improve the clearance experience and manage congestion at the land checkpoints.”
He added that there are currently no plans to expand the kiosks to other checkpoints. Traveller load and space constraints are factors when deciding whether these new kiosks can be installed at checkpoints, SUPT Tong told CNA.
“At the airport … or the Woodlands Bus Hall where we are looking at thousands of travellers per hour, having such kiosks will actually create a choke point and then impede the flow of travellers through the checkpoint itself,” he added.
But such kiosks are suitable in a “controlled” environment such as the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, where the maximum capacity of each train is capped at 320 passengers, he said.