Using Public Transport in Singapore

Travel Tips — By mariannerogerson on September 27, 2011 at 10:54 am

The public transport system in Singapore is excellent – the buses and MRT (underground/subway) are safe, efficient, clean, cheap and air-conditioned. The MRT links most major parts of the city and is favoured by most visitors as the easiest, quickest and most comfortable way to explore the island. Trains run from around 05.30am – 00.30am, with last trains varying with each station.

Tickets for the MRT start at $1.00 and rarely go above $2.00. Single-fare tickets can be bought from the ticket machines in the train stations – the ticket includes a $1.00 deposit which will be refunded when you return your card at the end of the journey. Note that machines only give a maximum of $10.00 change so you will need to change larger notes at the ticket office.

Photo: Marianne Rogerson

Read our previous blog post for a more detailed guide to travelling by MRT.

For areas not covered by the MRT, the bus system is also reliable, efficient and even cheaper than the MRT. Route and timing information is available at each bus stop. Every bus-stop is numbered – starting with a letter B followed by a number (eg. B01), with even numbered bus-stops on one side of the road and odd numbers on the other, with numbering starting again from the beginning with each change in street name. You can buy bus tickets on the bus, but exact money is required as no change is given.

If you plan to do lots of exploring, your best bet is to buy an EZ-link card, which can be bought from any MRT station or 7-Eleven store. The card costs $15 which includes $10 of travel credit and cards can be topped up (minimum top-up is $10.00) at the ticket machines in the train stations. The EZ-link card can also be used on the buses – remember to tap your card on the reader as you enter and exit the bus (or you will be charged for the longest fare on that route).


Photo: Marianne Rogerson

Alternatively, a Singapore Tourist Pass allows you unlimited travel for $8.00 per day for 1, 2 or 3 days – the card requires a $10.00 deposit, which is refunded provided you return your card within 5 days of purchase.

Children up to 0.9m in height and accompanied by a fare-paying commuter may travel free. A Child Concession Card is available for children over 0.9m, but under 7 years old. This cost $5.00 and requires a valid passport to be shown at time of application as proof of age.

Alternatively, metered taxis are plentiful and inexpensive, providing you avoid rush hour, when various surcharges apply. You can flag a taxi down on the street, pick one up at a designated taxi rank outside most major shopping malls, hotels and tourist attractions, or you can book over the phone and it will usually arrive within 5 – 7 minutes. Try the following companies: Comfort Citycab 6552 1111, SMRT Taxis 6555 8888.