So you’ve settled into your new abode – now it’s time to explore the (not so) big city out there! To get started on the right foot here’s your induction into the wonderful world of Singapore’s public transportation system.
Also known as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), it’s the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B in a jiffy. There are currently five sets of tracks to take you around the island: East-West, North-South, North-East, Circle, and the newest line, Downtown –due to be completed by 2017. Watch this space.
Download the MRT map here.
On a smaller scale, the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) is a feeder service railway, which serves neighbourhood estates in Sengkang, Punggol and Bukit Panjang.
Download the LRT map here.
Tips for travelling by MRT and LRT
– The MRT runs daily from approximately 5.30am to midnight.
– Equip yourself with an EZ-Link card. Singapore’s public transport is a tap-and-go system and charges commuters based on distance travelled.
– Ensure your EZ-Link card has sufficient value before tapping at the entrance gates. Trust us, holding up a line of angry commuters is not the best start to a Monday morning.
– Avoid the “priority seats” on trains designated for pregnant women, the elderly and disabled.
– Avoid crowding around the train doors. Move further into the carriage to allow other commuters in.
– It’s every woman for herself during peak hour; don’t be afraid to elbow your way into the carriage and nab yourself an overhead handrail to cling on to.
Although far more complicated than the MRT network, buses in Singapore are aplenty with several serving similar routes. We recommend downloading the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) Iris app (here and here) for up-to-date information on bus routes and timings. Don’t forget to also check out detailed bus routes located at every bus stop.
Tips for travelling by bus
– Buses run daily from approximately 5.30am to 12.30am.
– If you don’t have an EZ-Link card, prepare small change in coins and ask the driver for the fare before paying.
– Yellow seats located in the front section of buses are designated for pregnant women, the elderly and disabled.
– Hold on to those handrails tightly. Bus drivers in Singapore are notorious for hitting the brakes hard.
– Way past your bedtime? Hop onto the SBS Transit’s Nite Owl and SMRT’s Night Rider services.
Compared to cities like New York, Sydney, and Paris, taxis here are affordable –but highly unreliable. With an unyielding demand for these guys, flagging a taxi can be akin to waving your arms at a visitor at a blind convention. So if you’re rushing off to an all-important job interview, factor in plenty of idling time just to be safe.
All taxis go by a metre with flag down rates starting from $3.20. There are surcharges for peak hour, travelling to the airport, passing under the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) toll system and pre-booking.
Tips for travelling by taxi
– Have the taxi booking numbers keyed into your phone. Get the numbers here or list of travel apps here.
– During peak hour, festive season and rainy days, we recommend booking a taxi at least half an hour in advance.
– (Not so) fun fact, it can get especially tough to get a cab when drivers are changing shifts or it’s close to the witching hour (they prefer to pick up passengers after midnight for the surcharge). Cabbies will roll down their windows and you’ll be expected to shout out your destination. If your answer pleases them, you’re in!
Need more help with public transport Singapore? Check out our round-up of the handiest transport apps to download – whether you’re travelling by train, plane, taxi or on foot. Or read more about it here.
Images: SMRT, LTA