Singapore's public transport makes it one of the most inexpensive
and easiest and cities to explore. Together with its small size
and comprehensive and well coordinated transportation network -
featuring a 85 km subway / light rail (MRT) system with 51 well
placed stations, some 25,000 taxis and over 2,800 buses passing
every few minutes there is no reason to rent a car and since nearly
everyone in Singapore uses public transport it's a great way to
mix with locals.
That said, be advised that there are stiff fines for littering,
smoking, eating and/or drinking in MRT stations and on board trains
and buses. No excuses.
Rapid Transit (MRT) 5.30 am - 12.30 am (19 hours)
Clean, safe, well-lit, punctual, air-conditioned and very inexpensive,
the Singapore MRT is what every city rail system should be. Coverage
is not as extensive as the bus system but is more than adequate
for most tourists. In the city centre the MRT is underground and
above ground in the outlying suburbs. Access often allows you to
walk under the street in safe, well lit walkways (especially nice
during a rain shower). Routes and fares are well marked and easy
to follow. Fares range between SGD 0.90 (one station to the next)
upwards - i.e. from Orchard Road to Changi Airport is SGD 1.70 (Dec.
To use the system for the first time you will need to buy a farecard
known as an EZ-Link card. Visitors can buy an EZ-Link card at any
MRT station for S$15. This includes a S$3 deposit which is refunded
when you return the card. There is a non-refundable amount of S$5
for the card cost and a travel value of S$7 to start with. The minimum
top-up is S$10. Any unused value is refundable as well. The card
may also be used on any public bus.
Tap the card in the designated area on the top of the turnstile
to enter the train area and likewise tap the card on the turnstile
at your destination to exit. Same for buses - when entering the
bus tap the card on the specially designed card reader near the
driver and at the rear door when exiting.
For what it is worth, visitors may also purchase a single trip farecard
known as a Standard Ticket for the exact amount of the fare displayed.
Standard Ticket farecards are only good for a one way ride on the
day purchased. When you purchase such a farecard there is a SGD1.00
deposit added to the cost of the trip. This SGD1.00 is refundable
at the ticket counter at any MRT station.
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Over 15,000 air-conditioned cabs provide comfortable, hassle-free
travel at a very reasonable cost. All taxis are metered and taxis
operate 24 hours a day. All drivers are courteous and know where
they're going. There are designated queues in front of major shopping
centres to hail a cab or go to any hotel entrance.
Comfort Cab operates the largest fleet of cabs under the Comfort
Cab and Yellow Top brands and current (Mar. 2008) flag-fall is SGD
2.80 - SGD 3.00 for the first kilometre and SGD 0.20 for each 385
metres up to 10 kilometres. As well there are 'limousines' (basically
Mercedes and other luxury cars used as taxis) that can also be flagged
down on the street. Such limousine taxis are about 10% more expensive
than a standard cab.
Be advised that there several additional (and confusing) charges
levied i.e. Airport Pickup, Peak Hour, ERP Zone, Late Night Surcharges
etc. By and large there is a 35% surcharge for all fares from 7:.00am
- 9:00 am and 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm and a 50% surcharge from 12:00 midnight
to 6:00am. Airport pickup surcharge is SGD 3.00 Monday - Thursday
and Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 5:00 pm. After 5:00 pm on
Friday, Saturday and Sunday the airport pickup surcharge is SGD
However fares and surcharges can change without notice so for a
complete list of taxi fares and surcharges please
Lastly, a red destination sign on the dashboard indicates that the
driver's shift is ending and will only pickup passengers going in
the same direction and may refuse passengers not going in the same
Buses are a great way to see Singapore. Cheap, reliable and with
extensive coverage you can easily get to almost anywhere. If you
find yourself needing to use the bus / MRT extensively you should
consider buying a TransitLink card, (see above) which can also be
used on the MRT. Major bus routes are listed below.
Bus fares depend on trip length and currently range from SGD0.80
- SGD1.50 There are two bus companies in Singapore. If you need
specific directions and fare information contact Singapore Bus Service
(SBS) at 1-800-6287-2727 or Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) at
Buses take paper and coin currency but you do need exact change
- drivers do not make change. SBS buses 16 and 36 run between Orchard
Road and Changi Airport.
Popular Tourist Singapore Bus Routes
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Mostly a tourist thing but fun nonetheless, these red tram buses
run between the Orchard Road shopping belt, the Colonial District,
the Singapore River, Raffles Hotel, Clarke Quay, Marina area and
Suntec City. You can get a day pass for this trolley for SGD 9.00
and hop on and off as you wish - a one time use costs SGD 3.00.
Be advised that the Singapore Trolley is different from the SIA
Another fun ride is the trishaw. Especially popular around Bugis
Junction, trishaw drivers can also be found around Orchard Road.
Better at night, it's an interesting way to tour the streets of
Singapore. Routes are fairly standard but if you want to go someplace
special make sure you know where you want to go and then strike
an agreement on the fare before you hop in. Check with your hotel
for more details.