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Public transport in Singapore: All you need to know about getting around the island

Trains and buses run on time, and taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. The transport system is carefully integrated, so train stations usually have a taxi stand or bus stop nearby. To travel on the bus or MRT, an EZ-Link fare card will save you countless hassles, and can be easily purchased and topped up at MRT passenger service desks.

Taxis

 

Most busy areas have a taxi stand, or you can walk out to a main road and flag one down – except in the CBD (Central Business District), where legislation forbids this. At commuter hours, or when it’s pouring with rain, it’s best to call a taxi on the phone – it’s worth the call-out fee.

The base fare for travelling in a Comfort or CityCab taxi is currently $2.80. During peak hours (Monday to Friday, 7.00-9.30am, and Monday to Saturday, 5.00-8.00pm), passengers pay an additional 35 percent of the metered fare; and between midnight and 6am, they pay an additional 50 percent. The CBD surcharge is $3. Call-out charges are $2.50 during non-peak hours and $3.50 during peak hours. Comfort says that a 9-kilometre off-peak trip costs about $8.40, while a trip of the same distance during peak hours costs $11.40. (Note that peak-hour surcharges are not applicable on Sundays and public holidays.)

Fares can be paid in cash – smaller denominations are preferred – or by credit card. Some taxis also accept NETS. Although taxi drivers speak English, differences in accents can occasionally cause confusion.

Buses

Singapore’s bus system is better than in many major cities around the world. Some two million bus rides are taken each day on the island, across 300 different services. The easiest way to navigate Singapore by bus is to use an EZ-Link card (the same card can be used for the MRT) and to buy a Mighty Minds Bus Guide from a newsagent ($3.90).

MRT

Going nowhere fast? 

Much of the ongoing construction work in Singapore’s suburbs relates directly to the development of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system. New lines and stations continue to open (most recently, part of the Circle Line). The aim is for the MRT to be more extensive than the London Underground. Adult fares start at $0.68 using an EZ-Link card, up to $2 for the longest journey without EZ-Link.

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