|Once you're here: Public Transport|
The transport system in Singapore is efficient and reliable by most standards. The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) system plies the main stretches across the island, while buses cover other routes. Premier buses and taxis provide a faster and more comfortable ride at a higher price. An automated light rapid transit system (SLRT) includes approximately 7.8 km of elevated guideways stretching over 14 stations and acts a feeder to the SMRT network.
Some expats spend their entire time here without once taking a public bus! However, the humble bus is still one of the cheapest ways to get around Singapore. There are three companies providing public bus services--SBS (the purple, red and white buses) and SMRT Buses (the white and red stripes) and Singapore Shuttle Bus (the smaller, orange coloured ones). If you intend to take buses frequently, the TransitLink Bus Guide available at all SMRT station counters lists all the various bus and SMRT services and routes.
Fares range from 80 cents to $1.50 for non-air-conditioned buses, and from 90 cents to $1.80 for air-conditioned buses. Feeder buses that ply short routes in the major housing estates have a flat fare of 80 cents. These will have a fare sign prominently displayed in front.
You pay the exact fare and collect a ticket upon boarding at the Ez-link card readers. Itâ€™s generally a better deal to get a stored value Ez-link card--youâ€™re spared the hassle of getting the exact change, plus you can enjoy a 25 cent rebate, especially if you transfer from the MRT (see below) to buses. Ez-link cards can be bought or topped up at automated machines found in most MRT stations and bus interchanges.
There is also a "Bus Plus" scheme that provides premier scheduled minibus services during peak hours on weekdays. Fares tend to start from $1.00 upwards. These come in the shape of green mini buses and serve a few popular routes between the Central Business District and the housing estates.
The SMRT (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit) offers a fast and convenient way to zip around, with trains arriving and leaving every few minutes. The trains operate almost round-the-clock, from 5:45 am to 12:15 am. Currently, there are 64 stations spread around the island and 85 trains serving almost a million passengers daily.
The ez-link Card is a contactless stored value ticket for use on the SMRT, SLRT and the buses.
Stored value Ez-link cards are more convenient if you're a frequent user. You can buy them at all ticket sales offices at MRT stations and you can also choose how much value you want in your card. It can be used on both the MRT and buses, and provide rebates for transfers from MRT to buses, or vice versa. Children, students and senior citizens enjoy concession fares as well.
No smoking, eating or drinking is allowed in the trains. At one time, durians were banned too, to prevent discomfort to other passengers.
Taxis are easily available from taxi stands and hotels, and may be hailed on the roads if there is no stand nearby and no disruption to traffic. The four main taxi firms - CityCab, Comfort, SMRT Taxis and Yellow-Top, as well as other individual taxi operators--running a fleet of about 16,860.
The flagdown rate starts at $2.50 for the first 1 km (0.6 mile), and it's 10 cents for every 240 m thereafter (up to 10 km) and then 10 cents for every 225 m (after 10 km) thereafter.
Additional charges that apply:
Nonetheless, taxis here are still dirt cheap compared to the prices in most big cities. Besides basic taxi services, taxi companies also offer premier taxi services that promise to be bigger, more comfortable and more reliable. For instance, SMRT Taxis runs London cabs that give you more leg room. CityCab's Mercedes Benz E300 taxis come with a CD player, handphone, newspapers and distinctive livery.
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