Expert's Guide To Getting Around Singapore

27 May 2015

Getting around Singapore can be chaotic if you don't know what transport options are available. Fortunately, the city caters to all types, whether you prefer train, bus, taxi or driving yourself around.

This informative guide breaks down all the options, providing a useful overview and valuable information for when you're next in Singapore and are wondering what MRT or LRT stand for.

Light Rail Transit (LRT)

The light rail component of Singapore’s public transport network, the Light Rail Transit (LRT) acts as a feeder service to the Mass Rapid Transit system. LRT lines are fully automated and run on elevated tracks to conserve space in Singapore’s crowded cityscape.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)

Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail network criss-crosses the island. A fully integrated public transport system comprised of five lines and 105 stations, the MRT carries more than 2.5 million passengers a day.

Single-use MRT tickets can be purchased from vending machines at the station. Rechargeable EZ-Link and NETS smart cards are available for patrons making multiple trips. The Singapore Tourist Pass is designed for international visitors, offering unlimited travel across the city’s entire public transport network.

 Singapore's MRT system carries millions of passengers a day. Picture: Getty Images

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Train

Malaysian-operated KTM Intercity Trains make regular stops in Singapore, plying the route between Singapore and the Thai capital Bangkok daily. Trips between Woodlands in Singapore and Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur are particularly popular, with airconditioned trains offering well-equipped berths – including comfortable sleeper carriages.

Car

Drivers in possession of a current driver’s licence valid for at least one year can rent a car. Singapore uses a complex user-pays Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) toll collection scheme, for which a stored in-car cashcard is required.

Paid car parking is common in Singapore, with specialised coupons generally displayed on the dashboard to signify that you have paid. Paid parking is also available in most shopping centres and some office buildings.

Taxi

Taxis are a popular and practical means of travelling in Singapore. More than 25,000 metered taxis operate in the city, making them an obvious choice for getting around.

While tariffs are comparatively low, securing a cab during peak hours can be difficult. Cabs can be hailed at dedicated taxi ranks or any kerb not marked by a double-yellow line. Surcharges apply according to the time of travel, while ERP tolls are added to the metered fare.

 Taxis are cheap in Singapore, but hard to find at peak times. Picture: Getty Images

Bus

Singapore boasts an extensive bus network that stretches to all corners of the island. More than 2,500 buses ply almost 200 routes day and night, making bus travel one of the simplest ways to get around Singapore.

The two main operators are SBS Transit and SMRT Buses. Fares range from $S0.60 to $S1.75 ($A0.50 to $A1.70) depending on the route and bus, with buses generally running from 6am until midnight daily. Fares can be paid in exact change on board, or via an EZ Link stored value card.

The SIA Hop-On bus is a hop-on, hop-off tourist service showcasing the best of Singapore's attractions on a comfortable open-top bus. Tickets can be purchased on board, at SIA ticket offices or in several downtown hotels.

Ferry

The Singapore Cruise Centre manages ferry terminals at Harbourfront and Tanah Merah, servicing a range of regional ferry routes. The Sentosa Island Ferry Terminal provides services to Singapore's southern islands.

 Enjoy the city lights from a Singapore ferry. Picture: Getty Images

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Visit your local Flight Centre or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Singapore.

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Mike Tuckerman

From Europe to Asia and many places in between, there's rarely a town or city I've not enjoyed exploring. When I'm not wandering the streets and discovering new destinations, you can usually find me hanging out with the locals at major sporting events.