There are two good reasons why you wouldn’t need or want to purchase a car in Singapore. First, it is great for the environment when we choose to give up our cars. Secondly, the cost of owning a car can really add up and there are simply many convenient and relatively low-cost options for getting around this small island city. Indeed, our city-state already has a world-class transport infrastructure, and it is continuously making improvements and expansions even as we speak.
And while it is important to always be vigilant and alert when it comes to your immediate surroundings, the great news is in Singapore, there are not the usual safety fears you might experience in other major cities around the world when it comes to travelling by public transport—even at odd hours of the night.
In fact, for several years running, a global study has found that Singaporeans feel more safe and secure than anyone else around the world. According to Gallup, 94 per cent of adults residing in Singapore claims to feel safe when they are walking alone at night time (the global average is 68 per cent).
If you have just shifted to this city and are still feeling your way around the island, no sweat! Read on to find out what are some of the most efficient and affordable ways to get around. If the three reasons above haven’t convinced you to skip out on buying a car, a detailed list of your transport options below may do the trick!
Ride the Bus
Buses are a major form of public transport in Singapore and one of the best ways to explore the island. Over three hundred bus services ply the roads each day, handling more than 3 million rides daily. And the best part is that the majority of these buses are air-conditioned so you’ll be cool and comfortable when you get to your destination.
Some bus services even offer night buses such as the SMRT NightRider and the SBST Nite Owl, which operate on Friday and Saturday nights and on the eve of public holidays (PH), which is when most people have after-work plans and may head home later than usual.
All bus stops have signs that tell you which bus services stop there, their route and also when the first and last bus of the day arrive and leave.
If you plan to be a regular commuter on buses and trains, getting an EZ-link pass would be a mighty fine idea. These days, you may also find that downloading apps such as MyTransport.SG, NextBus and Singabus can make planning for your next trip a lot more simple.
Take the Train
Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system was established in 1987 and for the most part, has been going strong ever since. There are five different lines: the green East-West line, the red North-South line, the purple, North-East line, the orange Circle line and the blue Downtown line. Trains operate from 5:30am in the morning to 12:00am midnight, although the departure times for the first and last trains differ at each station and do vary on weekends and PH as well.
The MRT is a great way to get from one end of the island to the other quickly and affordably in air-conditioned comfort. Its stations are often also situated within walking distance of major tourist attractions, town centres and business districts.
Book a Taxi
For places that are inaccessible by MRT or bus, taxis are one of the options you have. There are 7 cab companies and approximately 25,000 fleets of taxi cabs making an average of over 588,000 trips every single day.
Taxis fares are metered, but there may be surcharges during peak hours and also depending on location. Most but not all taxis are 5-seater sedans that can take up to four passengers at a time.
You can flag, call or book a taxi using an app. There are also taxi stands where you can queue for a taxi and you can usually locate one at a shopping centre, hotel or tourist attraction.
Grab a Ride
Grab, Ryde and Go-Jek are three major ride-hailing options for those who want an alternative to taxis. It’s a different ride experience than a taxi as you are in a regular petrol car as opposed to a diesel-fuelled cab. You can download one or all three (it’s often a good idea to compare prices). Prices are rather competitive and may often be cheaper than booking a taxi. But watch out for surge pricing—in which case, cabs may offer a better price.
Try a Bus or Carpooling App
If a car or taxi ride is beyond your reach, ride-sharing or carpooling is an option in various car-hailing services such as GrabHitch or Ryde. You can even look into bus-pooling services, if let’s say your daily commute to work is long and, worse still, involves switching between buses and trains multiple times. A service like GrabShuttle or Beeline can offer you one easy bus ride to and from work if there are other passengers who are taking the same route.