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Travelling by public transport in Singapore

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.

Base fare for travelling in a standard taxi (e.g., Comfort and CityCab) ranges from $3 to $3.40.
During peak hours (Monday to Friday, 6-9.30am, and Monday to Sunday, 6pm-midnight), passengers pay an additional 25 percent of the metered fare; and between midnight and 6am, they pay an additional 50 percent.
CBD surcharge is $3.
Call-out charges are $2.30 during non-peak hours and $3.30 during peak hours.
Expect to pay around $12 for a 10-kilometre off-peak trip.
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.

Editors’ tip

“Print off a map of where you want to go before you get in a taxi. Don’t assume the driver will know the place you’re trying to get to; or he might know it, but by a different local name.”

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) or download the SG Buses app on your phone.

See our pick of Singapore phone apps that’ll make your life that little bit easier.

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 (the latest being the Circle Line). The ultimate aim for the MRT is to be more extensive than the London Underground. Adult fares start at $0.73 using an EZ-Link card, up to $2.20 for the longest journey without EZ-Link.

Editor’s tip

‘The MRT is clean and efficient, though overloaded at peak times. When looking for apartments, try to factor in the MRT (or bus) as a means for the working partner to get to work. Cars are expensive here, and two cars are rarely an option – one is a push for most!’

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