For those of us who haven’t gotten a car or can’t afford one, taking public transport is certainly part and parcel of our lives. As such, to make your life easier, follow these 13 public transport hacks in Singapore to make your daily journey from the east to the west as smooth and enjoyable as can be.
There are 3 main modes of public transport in Singapore. Accordingly, they are the Mass Rapid Transit (for short, the MRT, which also includes the Light Rail Transit which is also known as the LRT), buses and taxis. Most of the time, if you are not one of those ballers who can afford to take a cab everywhere you go, travelling to work or school can be a chore to many Singaporeans. Furthermore, this is especially true for the reason that you have to squeeze with the crowd like sardines in a can during rush hour.
Keep calm and continue reading for our list of 13 public transport hacks in Singapore.
1. Know Where to Board
Avoid awkward moments of contemplating whether to throw yourself into a crowded cabin during peak hours with these public transport hacks in Singapore.
After a long day at work, most of us just want to take a break and get home as soon as possible. However, we are often greeted with a jam-packed cabin that is full to capacity (our friends in the central business district, we feel ya!). As a result, we feel compelled to wait another 5 minutes for another train that is hopefully less crowded.
Nevertheless, we have a popular public transport hack in Singapore for you: the first and last cabins of the train are generally the least packed. Consequently, we can almost guarantee that you will definitely be able to board the train with this helpful tip.
Unsurprisingly, this is because escalators tend to be situated closer to the entrances that are nearer to the centre of the train. Further, people are inherently lazy to walk all the way to the ends of the trains. Therefore, walk a bit more and be on your merry way home quicker!
2. Get a Concession Pass for Unlimited Rides
If you take public transport seven days a week, these public transport hacks in Singapore are ideal for you!
For daily commuters, you can reduce your transportation fees with concession passes designed to suit your specific needs. Firstly, you need to know how much you are spending on your transport per month. Secondly, decide whether you take the bus or train more often. Alternatively, you can consider the hybrid option if you take a good amount of both. Lastly, compare the fares.
As such, if you are spending more than the fares of purchasing a concession pass, we highly recommend you buy a concession pass instead. Indeed, this can not only save you some cash but it also saves you the hassle of having to top up your card every single week.
In brief, the breakdown of the fares for various monthly concession passes is as follows (as of July 2019):
Cardholders Bus (basic services only) Train Hybrid
Primary student $22.50 $20.00 $41.00
Secondary student $27.50 $25.00 $51.00
Polytechnic student $27.50 $25.00 $51.00
University student $52.00 $45.00 $85.00
Full-time national serviceman $52.00 $45.00 $85.00
Senior Citizen/Person with Disabilities N/A N/A $60.00
Adult N/A N/A $120.00
3. Travel at Lower Rates during Certain Non-Peak Hours
You know the saying; the early bird gets the worm.
Did you know that you can enjoy lower morning pre-peak fares when you tap in at stations before 7:45 am on weekdays (excluding public holidays)? In fact, save up to $0.50 on your fare or the equivalent of the fare for the rail leg of your journey, whichever is lower.
This is an initiative by the Singapore government to encourage more commuters to begin their rail journey earlier. As a result, the public transport system in Singapore can be more efficient and passengers can enjoy less crowded rides as well. On the other hand, note that this discounted fare only applies to commuters paying regular card fares and not concession pass holders.
4. Book Your Rides through Apps
“Where would you like to go?”
Gone are the days when you have to stand by the road under the sweltering heat for what seems like a lifetime before you manage to flag down a cab driver who is willing to send you to your destination. In our modern world today, countless things can be digitalised and that includes booking a ride.
With Grab, GOJEK and ComfortDelGro in the market, you can compare prices across different providers and receive competitive rates. In addition, collect rewards and savour regular promotions when you book your ride through these apps. Needless to say, going online makes travelling so much more effortless, reliable and convenient.
5. Track Bus and MRT Timings to Avoid Long Waits
Speaking of apps, wait no longer with these public transport hacks in Singapore!
Plan your trips in advance to avoid long waits. Indeed, there are many apps out there that provide up-to-date information on arrival times and bus/MRT routes. For example, a few good apps include MyTransport Singapore, SG NextBus, SG Buses, SG MRT Arrival Time and many more. Thus, linger no more at bus stops with the scorching sun blaring in your face!
6. Use Nets FlashPay for Your Transport
Travel smart with these public transport hacks in Singapore.
Certainly, NETS FlashPay is perfect for those who want an easy and safe way that suits your daily transport needs. For instance, you can use it for MRT, LRT, public buses, Comfort & CityCab and SMRT taxis. Basically, you name it, you have it!
With its auto top-up feature and application, you can reload your card anytime and definitely not face the humiliation of “Card Error/Failed” ever again. Moreover, NETS FlashPay is equipped with FlashPay Shield, which helps to protect and insure you against theft. Hence, this makes it a secure option for the absent-minded who often find themselves losing their valuables.
7. Seek Help When You Need It
Ask and you shall receive.
Have you ever found yourself lost amongst the numerous exits available in an MRT station? Besides, it doesn’t help that Google Maps seems to malfunction whenever you are underground due to poor connectivity. However, fret not because every MRT station is staffed with employees who are generally happy to assist you when you need it!
Contrary to common belief, control station officers do not merely help you top up your card when the queues at the kiosks are too long. Furthermore, these officers are typically familiar with the area and can helpfully guide you towards your destination. There is certainly no harm in asking for some assistance!
8. Avoid Hefty Taxi Fares with SMRT’s NightRider Services
Party-goers and night owls out there – this public transport hack in Singapore is for you.
With a flat fare of merely $4.50 per trip, you can catch 7 different buses home with SMRT’s NightRider service. However, they only operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Eve of Public Holidays between 11:30 pm to 4:35 am. In short, these buses go towards Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong West, Pasir Ris, Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun.
Refer to the SMRT NightRider brochure for a helpful guide!
9. Say Yes to Discounted Fares for Transfer Trips Under 45 Minutes
Who says no to cheap deals? Try out this public transport hack in Singapore today!
Our transport fares today are based on the Distance Fares scheme, which allows commuters to transfer rides without having to pay additional costs. Essentially, this means that fares are computed on a journey basis and you do not have to pay a boarding charge for every transfer trip you make.
In brief, this is how it works!
- Pay with a stored value fare card
- Make up to five transfers within one journey
- Within 45 minutes between the MRT station and bus service or between different bus services; or
- Within 15 minutes between different MRT station
- Take up to 2 hours to complete the entire journey
- Remember not to take the same bus service number more than once
10. Spice up Your Pass with EZ-Charms
Too cute to be true… but it’s true!
EZ-Charms are the latest form of contactless technology that comes in the form of a trinket, designed by EZ-Link to up your public transport game. Functioning exactly like an EZ-Link card, EZ-Charms come in various shapes, sizes and characters (think Hello Kitty, Disney and Marvel!), adding a touch of whimsical charm to your boring travels.
11. Charge Your Devices When You’re Running Low on Battery
Low-battery modes are a thing of the past with these public transport hacks in Singapore!
Have you ever had a dying cell? If you have, don’t panic because you can charge your phone at various MRT stations in Singapore. In particular, the following MRT stations (in alphabetical order) provide charging points to save your day (and phone):
1. Ang Mo Kio
3. City Hall
4. Kent Ridge
6. Outram Park
8. Tanjong Pagar
By the way, remember to bring your own charger and cables because these aren’t provided for!
12. Enjoy Free Wi-Fi
“Wi-Fi is the umbilical cord of the modern world.” – Kammpan Sharma
Everyone knows how much it sucks to run out on mobile data, especially if your monthly data counter will only reset weeks away. Accordingly, here’s the answer to your first-world problem.
Apart from the above, here comes better news! Luckily, there will be free Wi-Fi services at all MRT and LRT stations, bus interchanges and terminals by 2020. Can’t wait!
13. Have a Toilet Break While in Transit
When nature calls, you just gotta go~
Sometimes, you have to relieve yourself at the worst timing possible. In particular, when you are en route to your destination somewhere but do not want to pay the cost of tapping out halfway through your journey.
Specifically, for those of you who face such a predicament, you will be happy to know that you can access the toilet at Bugis Station without having to tap out! It is located at the same level as the gantry. Simply look out for a sign that says, “Toilet for the handicapped” and you will find it easily. However, as mentioned, it is meant for our friends with disabilities. Therefore, please be considerate and give priority to those who need it more!
To summarise, be it stuffy and overcrowded cabins or buses, we have been there and done that. Above all, say no more to unpleasant rides and follow these 13 public transport hacks in Singapore to have an easy and breezy journey every day!
If you want some money saving hacks for public transport, you can also check out the best tricks to reduce your MRT Fare in Singapore.