Transportation Guide For Tourists In Singapore

Being a small island nation in Southeast Asia, Singapore has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. The country has invested heavily in a detailed and comprehensive infrastructure and road system, which makes the public transport system considerably well-connected and effective.

Singapore has a detailed land transport policy which is dedicated to making travel easy-flowing and convenient for the people. Systematic planning of infrastructure and careful regulation of private vehicles help to minimise traffic congestion, making everyday travel easier.

Methods of Public Transport in Singapore

The following are the various modes of transport that you can use to get around the island:

  • Taxis
  • Buses
  • MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)
  • Private Taxis
  • Bike Sharing
  • LRT (Light Rail Transit)

Now let us talk in detail about these available methods of transport.

MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)

Singapore has developed a comprehensive rail system that is one of the quickest ways to get around the country. The best part about this rail system is that all the major tourist attractions are within walking distances from the MRT stations.

However, it might not be as extensive as the train systems in other major cities. For some places that are at a fair distance from the city core, you might need to take the train to a certain MRT station and use other forms of public transportation to get to your destination.

There are three ticketing options to choose from while using the MRT system in Singapore:

  • Standard Ticket: If you are not planning to stay in Singapore for more than a couple of days, you should consider purchasing the standard ticket. These tickets are available for purchase from top-up and ticketing machines located in all stations. These tickets can be bought in single-trip and return-trip alternatives and can be used 6 times.
  • Singapore Tourist Pass: You can also go for the tourist pass which will provide you with an unlimited number of rides on buses, MRT and LRT
  • EZ-Link Card: In case you are planning to stay in Singapore for a long period of time, you might want to go for the EZ-Link Card. The benefit of this card is that you get to enjoy discounted rates for bus, LRT, and MRT rides. These cards can be purchased from ticketing machines and customer service offices at every MRT station, and also at 7-Elevens.  

Public Transport Bus

Taking the bus is another reliable form of public transport to get around Singapore. You can cover most of Singapore using the bus system. These are very frequent and very cheap to use.

You can find bus shelters in all the main places in Singapore and they usually display the numbers of the buses that ply to various destinations from there. You can also take buses from terminals that are located near major MRT stations. You can rely on these buses to get to places that are far away from MRT stations.

How to pay for using the bus service:

  • Singapore Tourist Pass: You can use the Singapore tourist pass to pay for the bus fare anywhere in Singapore.
  • EZ-Link Card: You just need to present your card at the reader that is on every entry and exit of the bus. This will automatically deduct the balance from your card, you can enjoy discounted rates by using your EZ-Link Card.
  • Cash: The age-old way of paying for any service. This is usually more expensive than paying with any other method.  You can just pay your respective bus fare directly to the bus driver. Do remember to carry exact change for the bus fare as this can help make your journey easier and avoid unnecessary hassles.

LRT ( Light Rail Transit)

The Light Rail Transit or LRT is a system that connects you to areas that are not covered by MRT. The services are reasonably priced and provide efficient last-mile connectivity to many remote areas. Generally, this service does not connect to touristy places but to places that are away from the city centre.

The following are the ticketing options available for using the LRT:

  • Singapore Tourist Pass
  • Standard Tickets
  • EZ-Link Card
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Taxis & Shuttles

This is one form of transport that might come to your rescue when you need to get somewhere after public transport timings. Just like in any other country, taxis can be easily hailed down from the side of the street, or you can get one from the many taxi stands around.

The taxis usually have lights on the top of the roof. If these lights are green, it means that the vehicle is available for travel. You can usually find these taxis lined up outside major hotels, shopping malls, tourist places and other such places.

One thing to remember is that taxi surcharge is applicable at midnight and you might find it hard to hail taxis on the road. In this case, you might have to get a taxi by call or by using mobile applications.

Here is how you can pay for taxis in Singapore:

  • EZ-Link: You can pay for your taxi rides using your EZ-Link cards, but this is restricted to only certain taxi providers in the country. It is always advisable to ask this to your taxi driver before you board the cab.
  • Debit or Credit Cards: You can also choose to pay for your taxi by using your debit or credit card. You might be liable to pay an administrative fee, every time you use your cards to pay for taxi fare. Further, you can pay using an e-wallet, if you choose to book your taxi online.
  • Cash: You can choose to pay by the convenient method of using cash.

Private Taxi Applications

Currently, Grab is the only mobile application that you can use to hail taxis. It is easy to hire these taxis if you have a phone with an active data connection. Grab also offers other budget-friendly ride sharing facilities like:

  • GrabCar: Just like any other taxi service, you will be picked up and taken right to your destination.
  • GrabHitch: This is quite an innovative concept. Instead of taxi drivers, you are picked up by other commuters that are going the direction of your destination. Although these are much cheaper than other alternatives, they tend to be hard to get.
  • GrabShare: This carpool service allows you to enjoy up to 30% cheaper rates by sharing rides with other commuters.
  • JustGrab: It is generally more affordable than GrabCar. You can either get a taxi or a private car using this service.

Here are the ways of paying for your taxi ride in Singapore.

  • Cash: You can just simply pay your taxi driver the respective fare using your cash.
  • Credit or Debit cards: You can upload your card details on the app and the fare will be automatically deducted every time you take a ride.
  • GrabPay Credits: This is the e-wallet that you can use to pay for your taxi rides. This wallet can be topped up easily using your credit or debit card. The fare will be automatically debited each time you take a ride.
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Bike Sharing

Even though it is a relatively new concept, bicycle renting is another reliable way of getting around in Singapore. Granted, it is not the most ideal option for long distance travel, it is a cost-effective mode of transport for travelling short distances. Not only is this affordable, but it might also help you navigate through traffic easily. Some of the major bike sharing options available in Singapore are:

  • Mobike: You can identify these bikes owing to the signature orange basket, grey frame and orange wheel rims.
  • Ofo: You can differentiate these cycles by their bright yellow bicycle frame.
  • oBike: These have a grey frame, orange wheel rims and black basket.

You can pick up these bikes from wherever you find them, but you do have to return them to the dedicated parking spot only.  These bikes can come in handy to get to places that are not covered by the MRT system.

There are certain rules for parking these bikes, some of them are as follows:

  • Park the bikes in designated parking areas near MRT stations, shopping malls or tourist places
  • You can also park them on public cycle racks
  • You are not allowed to park inside buildings or in private parking areas
  • You should not park it in a way that it might disrupt traffic

Here are the steps to use the bike sharing service:

  • Download the mobile application for the bike sharing company that you want to use.
  • Create an account by providing particulars like card details, name, contact number and other such details.
  • You can use the mobile app to find all the available bikes near your location.
  • You can unlock the cycle by scanning the QR code present on the frame of the bike.
  • Once you’re done, make sure to lock the bike, otherwise, you will continue to be charged for the ride.

There are a number of different choices when it comes to public transport in Singapore. All of the available options are efficient and cost-effective in their own sense. Also, there are a number of different ways in which you can pay for using these services. So, if you are visiting Singapore, you can rest assured knowing that using public transport will give you a convenient and pocket-friendly way of getting touring the country.

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