Public Transport in Singapore
Travelling from one corner of Singapore to another is a breeze thanks to the well integrated public transport system. From taxis and buses to the MRT, the wide range of public transport in Singapore has a lot to offer. Not only does the city have the World’s Best Airport, it also has ample taxis, trains and buses that run on time and are relatively inexpensive. Moreover, the transport system is carefully integrated, so train stations usually have a taxi stand or bus stop nearby. Not to forget the EZ-Link fare card that can be easily bought and topped up saving countless hassles.
MRT and LRT Singapore
Initiated in 1982, Singapore’s MRT has expanded to an extensive rail network serving ever more commuters today. This Mass Rapid Transit system is perhaps the fastest way to move around the city. MRT lines connect the northern and western stations between Woodlands and Jurong. While the Northeast Line connects the new housing estates of Punggol and Sengkang to downtown Singapore, the Circle Line (CCL) an underground orbital line linking all radial lines allows commuters to bypass busy interchanges like City Hall and Raffles Place. All MRT trains are clean and well-maintained. On the other hand, the Light Rapid Transit or the LRT lines offer intra-town loop services to Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol housing estates.
The utmost advantage that trains have over road transportation is their ability to bypass traffic congestion. In addition, MRT and LRT are very cheap compared to train services in other countries. They are also accessible to wheel chair users and the visually impaired, as well as families with strollers.
The ez-link card is basically a store-valued card, very much like a public telephone card. But unlike telephone cards, it has a tamper-proof microchip. It is added to both bus and rail network in Singapore. To use this compact smartcard, you have to tap the card on a card reader that automatically scans and deducts the appropriate amount from your ez-link card. You can find card readers on the turnstiles of all MRT stations, and also on the front and back entrances of all public buses. You can top up its value too.
Taxis are not only comfortable but also handy if you want to go to places not accessible by MRT or bus. All taxis in Singapore are metered, but surcharges may vary depending on when, where and which company’s taxi you board. However, to know the final fare, check with the driver on the surcharges and ask for a receipt at the end of the trip. Taxis can be availed by the roadside or from taxi stands found at most shopping malls, hotels and tourist attractions. You can also call a common taxi booking number, 6-DIAL CAB (6342-5222). There are eight taxi companies in Singapore: CityCab, Comfort Transportation, Yellow Top Taxi, Trans-Cab Services, SMRT Taxis, SMART Automobile, Premier Taxis and Prime Taxi. Like public buses, taxis are also subject to the same traffic conditions but are not forced to run on any fixed route. Experienced taxi drivers know which roads to keep away from during peak hours to avoid traffic jams. In peak hours (Monday to Friday, 6am – 9.30am, and Monday to Sunday, 6pm to midnight), passengers pay an additional 25 percent of the metered fare; and between midnight and 6am, they pay an additional 50 percent.
With a widespread network of routes covering most places in Singapore, buses are the best economical way to get around in Singapore. They are comfortable, safe, affordable and reliable, quite better than those in many major cities around the world. Approximate two million bus rides are taken every day on the island, across 300 different services. Generally, passengers pay bus fares using EZ-Link stored-value card or the Singapore Tourist Pass for simple and hassle free navigation.
Singapore Visitor Centre
There are special Visitor Centres in ION Orchard, Orchard and Chinatown to help travellers plan their itinerary, purchase tickets to attractions and tours and book accommodation. These centres also have locally designed souvenirs on display.