Unlike most other metropolitan cities, Singapore’s public transport system is fast, efficient and safe, making getting around town a breeze. With close to 5,000 bus stops and almost 150 train stations currently across the island, you can rest assured that a bus stop or train station is never far away. You will be pleasantly surprised to see that all trains and buses are meticulously clean, thanks largely to a strict ‘no eating or drinking rule’ – which also applies to taxis.
There are three main modes of public transport in Singapore:
Trains – MRT & LRT
Singapore’s mass rapid transit system – or MRT as it is more popularly known – form the backbone of Singapore’s public transport network and is usually the fastest and most efficient way of travelling, especially during peak hours. The extensive rail network means that there are very high chances of having an MRT station within convenient walking distance from most places on your route. Projections say that by 2020, there will be an MRT station every 400m in the city centre. For a detailed view of the train system map, go to http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltaweb/en/public-transport/mrt-and-lrt-trains/train-system-map.html
Most trains and stations are accessible to wheel chair users and the visually impaired, as well as families with strollers and all have lifts and escalators to bring travellers from the train level to the street level and vice versa.
Train operation hours typically run from 5.30am to about midnight daily and are usually extended during public holidays and festive periods, with the frequency being as high as one train every 2-3 minutes during peak hours (7am to 9am) and 5-7 minutes during off-peak times. If your travel timings are flexible, please note that travelling before morning peak hours results in a cheaper ride for you!
Complementing the MRT system is the LRT system, which is a feeder service and brings passengers closer to home.
Cost wise, trains will save you a lot more on trains than taxi fare and you can pay for your ride with a contactless stored-value card or a standard ticket – also known as the EZ link card. Please visit http://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltaweb/en/public-transport/mrt-and-lrt-trains/train-fares-and-travel-cards.html for more information on fares and the different types of travel cards available for children, adults, students and senior citizens.
Singapore’s bus system has an extensive network of routes covering most places in Singapore and complement the MRT system, bringing commuters closer to home. Most bus routes operate directly outside an MRT station, providing commuters a seamless transfer from one travel mode to another. But while buses may not be the fastest way to get around, they are very economical and certainly the most scenic modes of transportation, if you have the time to spare. As with trains, you can pay your bus fare using an EZ-Link stored-value card or with exact change (if paying in cash), as bus drivers are not equipped to provide change for fares. Most buses are also wheelchair friendly.
Please visit http://www.sbstransit.com.sg/transport/trpt_bus_timetable.aspx for a detailed schedule on bus routes and timings.
With close to 25,000 taxis operating on a daily basis, finding a taxi is usually easy. Taxis can either be hailed off the street, booked in advance or simply called for via phone, SMS or an app.
There are two main types of taxis available in Singapore – Normal taxis (which are the more common type) and Limousine taxis (which charge a flat rate, and can only be hired from an authorised limousine counter or through call-booking).
Compared to most international cities, taxis are considered relatively cheap in Singapore, with the flag down rate starting from $3, depending on the vehicle type of the taxi.
Cab fares are charged by a taxi meter and are based on the distance travelled, again depending on the vehicle type.
Note that different surcharges are applicable at different times of the day. For example, peak periods, public holidays, ERP rates, all add to the taxi fare.
Please see our other article on how to call or book a Taxi and booking hotline numbers.