Singapore has invested a huge amount of resources into developing her public transport infrastructure in a bid to discourage private car ownership. The introduction of a road toll system, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), charges motorists when entering the city’s notoriously crowded Central Business District roads. Fret not, tourists will find it a breeze moving from place to place. There is an efficient network of public buses, taxis and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Here’s what you need to know when utilising these transport means.
For starters, car rentals in Singapore is very costly. It would be more economical to make use of the extensive public transport network to get around the city. However, should you still decide on renting a car, here are some essential information:
1. You have to display a valid parking coupon on your dashboard in designated parking lots. Coupons can be purchased from petrol kiosks.
2. Driving is on the left. You must produce a valid international driving license for car rentals.
3. Insurance is included in the rental fees.
4. It is very costly to take your rental car to Malaysia, hence you should rent one there instead.
The easiest way of paying for public transport is the EZ-link card (tap these stored value cards on the card readers upon entering a bus). These can be bought at any bus interchange or MRT station at a cost of S$10 with an additional S$5 deposit. Alternatively, drop the exact fare into the fare box upon boarding. You can tell the driver your destination and ask for the corresponding fare. Fares range from S$0.70 to S$1.80.
Singapore’s extensive bus service plies every corner of the island. The bus route of the various bus services is displayed on information boards at bus stops, where you can plan what service to take and where to alight.
For an even more hassle-free way to get to your accommodation, there are airport shuttle buses that leave from every airport terminal (budget terminal as well) that takes you to any hotel except those in Sentosa and Changi Village. Bookings can be made at the arrival hall airport shuttle booth. Fares are roughly S$9 for adults and S$6 for children. This is a 24-hour service that certainly offers comfort and speed in bringing you to your preferred destination!
Mass Rapid Transit
The MRT system is a fast, efficient and convenient way of making your way around Singapore. There are currently 3 fully operating lines (East-West, North-South and North-East), with the 4th (Circle) still under partial construction. MRT stations can be underground or on elevated platforms along roads. A copy of an MRT guide is available at every station. Similar to buses, simply tap your EZ-link card on the automated gantries to enter the station’s platforms.
Stations are usually prominent landmarks, with ample signs guiding you to one. Trains have different coloured seats specially allocated for the elderly, disabled, pregnant women or parents with small children. Although most Singaporeans utilise these seats anyway, it’d be good to adhere and not occupy these seats.
It costs roughly S$1.40 for a trip from the airport to city hall in the Central Business District.
Numerous companies now operate taxi services in Singapore, therefore taxis come various vehicle models and colours. However, as long as you see a distinct header on the car’s roof saying taxi, you’re free to flag one down. Take note that in the CBD, taxis are only allowed to stop at designated taxi stands.
Fares are incredibly complicated in recent times. There are peak hour surcharges, airport surcharges, CBD flag-down surcharges etc. Passengers, even locals tend not to know what they are paying for, they simply pay what the meter reads. You can at least be sure that there should not be any haggling over fares.
Finally, take note that there are normal cabs and luxury ones. Luxury ones are usually of Mercedes and Chrysler makes. The basic fare for these cabs are S$3.20, instead of S$2.80 or S$3 for the Toyotas, Hyundais, Skodas and Kias. Luxury cabs have fares that increase by 30 cents every time instead of 20 cents too. Therefore, you should try to avoid such cabs unless you are in a rush and have no time to wait for another.
Unlike other countries, the tipping of taxi drivers is not expected, though doing so is greatly appreciated.
1. You can get refunds on any amount left in your stored value EZ-link cards at the end of your stay.
2. Night service buses are called NightRider, with a flat rate of S$4.50. These buses offer a safe means of travel after midnight till early morning.