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Singaporean traveller makes U-turn home after being stuck at Batam ferry terminal for 2.5 hours

Singaporean traveller makes U-turn home after being stuck at Batam ferry terminal for 2.5 hours
A Singaporean woman tried going to Batam for a day trip over the long weekend, but she wasn't able to leave the ferry terminal.
PHOTO: Slacker.Auntie

She wanted to go on a quick day trip to Batam during the long weekend, but ended up making a U-turn home hours after.

A Singaporean woman shared in a Lemon8 post on Sunday (June 16) that she had spent 2.5 hours stuck in a queue at Batam Centre Ferry Terminal.

The 40-year-old, who only wanted to be known as Slacker Auntie, told AsiaOne that she had booked last-minute tickets to Batam with her friends and smoothly boarded the ferry on Saturday.

However, problems arose once they arrived at their destination.

"Ferry managed to reach Batam and then… we couldn't alight," she wrote in her post. "It's been two hours and I am still stuck in this ferry."

Noting that the snaking queue had extended outside of the customs area, she decided to cut her losses and return to Singapore.

Fortunately, the woman had bought a return ticket for 3.30pm that day.

She later found out that the long queue has been a recurring problem at Batam Centre Ferry Terminal. Her friends also told her that customs are "always this messy".

"I am sticking to Malaysia for short day trips," Slacker Auntie said.

In her post, she also shared a photo of her last visit to Batam, saying that it happened 14 years ago.

"I think I will just keep it this way for now, until I get over the trauma from yesterday," she wrote.

Ferry 'stuck in the sea'

Slacker Auntie told AsiaOne that she decided on the impromptu trip after reading old reviews that Batam would be less crowded than Johor Bahru during long weekends.

She had taken the ferry at 11.30am that day, arriving within the vicinity of Batam about an hour later.

However, the ferry came to a stop and became "stuck in the sea" some distance away from the port, drawing complaints from other passengers, the woman said.

"30 minutes later, the captain updated us saying that there were some issues with Batam customs," she recalled. "Then I was stuck in the ferry till 3pm."

She was then told to disembark. Slacker Auntie briefly walked around the crowded ferry terminal without clearing customs, and decided to head back to Singapore.

The woman said she didn't notice anyone else doing the same.

"I don't think I will visit Batam again until the school holidays are over — even then, I'd try a different ferry terminal, Harbour Bay, as recommended by my friends."

'Chaos' at Batam ferry terminal

This isn't the first time travellers had found Batam Centre Ferry Terminal a "nightmare" to get through.

During Chinese New Year, some Singaporeans were stuck in a queue for hours as they waited for their turns to board the ferry home.

"People were standing shoulder to shoulder while breathing down each other's back," 60-year-old retiree Lim Keng Guan told AsiaOne at the time.

He also noted that there was inadequate crowd control measures at the ferry terminal.

"I saw elderly folk crying and young children caught up in this human crush."

About 200,000 travellers of various nationalities travel from Singapore to Batam each month, The Straits Times reported in June.

ALSO READ: Passengers from Singapore baffled by steep Batam ferry prices as Indonesia probes possible price-fixing

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