Public Transportation in Singapore - Getting Around the Lion City
Towering skyscrapers, verdant botanical gardens, thrilling night safaris, themed amusement parks and a helical bridge that glows at night - Singapore has a never-ending list of fascinating marvels that will make you fall in love with this island country. A perfect amalgam of class and elegance, this country welcomes over 1.5 million tourists from around the globe. Hence, catering to the transportation needs of all these guests along with their local passengers and managing the traffic effectively is crucial for its tourism. Luckily, the country has developed a widespread network that connects all the major landmarks. With pocket-friendly fares and easy accessibility, you can carry on with your holiday itinerary without shelling too much on just the transportation.
So, let's know about the three modes of public transportation in the country - the train, the bus and the taxi.
Train - MRT and LRT
Slowly forming an extensive circuit connecting even the remotest cities of the island is the train network of Singapore. Comprising of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rapid Transit (LRT), this is perhaps the most widely used local transport as it is very budget friendly and easily accessible.
You can purchase tickets and pay reasonable prices depending upon your route, or you can travel smartly using the Singapore tourist pass on a daily basis. Actually, if you compare, most countries have higher rates of train rides than the one here. And, not to mention its speed and ability to evade heavy traffic which makes it the fastest mode of transportation. A 150 km rail network connects more than 90 stations. Hence, from Sentosa Island to Gardens by the Bay, all major attractions are just a walk away from the stations.
Provisions have been made to make travelling convenient for the differently abled too. The well maintained and hygienic condition of the stations and the trains will betray the fact that this network is almost three decades old now.
The first fare begins at 5:30 AM in the morning. Though the train runs at a frequency of 2 to 5 minutes, massive crowds are observed during the rushpeak hours from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. So, avoid travelling during those hours.
The fares of MRT are as follows:
Senior citizen / Persons with disabilities
Workfare transport Concession
$0.77 - $2.02
$0.54 - $0.87
$0.37 - $0.58
$0.63 - $1.67
Together, MRT and LRT form the foundation of public transportation, making travelling comfortable for locals and tourists alike.
A little less comfortable but a more pocket-friendly mode of public conveyance is the bus. Operating with a frequency of 15 to 20 minutes (may take more if there is heavy traffic), the buses are quite spacious and well maintained, with excellent air conditioning and ramps for wheelchair passengers. Even though the space inside the buses tends to get a little cramped during the busy working hours, the fantastic connectivity with almost every place is what makes it a convenient travelling mode. On top of this, you get exceptional views of the city life of Singapore too.
There are two buses to look out for. One is a white and red coloured bus called the SBS Transit. Second is a yellow coloured bus operated by SMRT. Both these buses start running from 5:30 AM with the last fare at midnight. Some operators like Nite Owl and NightRider also function during the night but charge more for the extended services. However, all measures are taken to ensure the passenger's safety and wellbeing.
Listed below are the bus fares according to the distance to give an idea of the prices.
Up to 3.2
3.3 - 6.2
6.3 - 9.2
9.3 - 11.2
11.3 - 15.2
15.3 - 19.2
19.3 - 23.2
Payment of fares can be made via cash (it needs to be the exact change though), an EZ-linked stored-value card or a Singapore tourist pass. Detailed information about the routes and fares is available at all the bus stops too.
Compared to the public buses and trains, taxis are a bit heavy on the purse for travelling across the country but has many other perks that make it a popular conveyance for tourists. With the ease of deciding the best route to reach a location and buzz through heavy traffics, travelling via taxis and cabs offers more privacy and comfort. All of them are air-conditioned, most of them have radios, there is more leg space as all taxis are generally 5-seater and they can all be easily booked.
By waiting at any taxi stand or using GPS technology, you can easily avail a taxi from any of the seven operators functioning throughout the country. Another way is to use the Dial-A-Cab hotline number, which is 6342 5222, which further connects you to your desired taxi operator. Even the remotest locations that have been missed by the MRT or the buses can be easily accessed. And that too in a fast way.
Every cabbie knows all routes in the cities. Hence, during rush hours, they know which will be the best route to avoid getting stuck in hour-long jams and reach your destination. The only problem is the fares which sometimes seem extremely high. The taxis are metered and work on fixed fares set according to the distance travelled. However, every operator has its own fares. So, it is advised to make a clean breast of the tariff from the driver beforehand and take a receipt when you reach your location.
Singapore Tourist Pass - More places in less money
A dream come true for any traveller is extensive travelling, and Singapore Tourist Pass turns that dream into reality. An EZ-link stored value card, the Singapore tourist pass is a special pass which gives unlimited access to bus, LRT and MRT services. Valid for the number of days you wish for, you can travel as many times to as many places by paying a nominal amount. For a full one day pass, you pay USD 10. For a two day pass, you pay USD 16. For a three day pass, it costs USD 20. And along with this, you pay a basic refundable deposit of USD 10. And then, you are good to go exploring all the fascinating locations of the Lion City! Also, it is free for children below the height of 0.9m. Finally, after you are done with your Singaporean expedition, you can return the card and get a refund for those USD 10. Or perhaps, leave the refundable deposit and keep the card as a souvenir for your adventure. The choice is yours.
Apart from these widespread transportation networks operating throughout almost the entire country, there are three more kinds of transfers that are restricted to only a few regions yet form an integral part of public transportation. They are Cable Cars, River Taxis, and Trishaws.
Soar high in the sky as you ride in the cable cars swinging between the hill of Mount Faber and the serene island of Sentosa. Operated by Cable Car Sky Network, cable cars are a fun, adventurous way of travelling from one place to another and feast the mesmerising view of Singapore's skyline. 5 kilometres long cable line stretching in both the lines carries about 100 cabins every day. The first trip starts at 8:45 AM, and the last one is around 9:30 PM. The last ticket for both lines is sold at 9:15 PM. The cabins are well-maintained and regularly checked for safety purposes. While riding, you can look down below at the towering Faber peak and the lush jungle surrounding it, and the skyscrapers kissing the clouds. The Sentosa line covers all the major attractions on the island, and one can choose to land anywhere - the beaches, Universal Studios, the aquarium- anywhere.
Mount Faber Line
With this detailed knowledge of all the major public transports at your disposal, you can now make calculated decisions and not let conveyance become a deterrent in your fun Singaporean holiday. So, without further ado, pack those bags and head off to one of Asia's mind-blowing travel destination.