How To Navigate Transport in Singapore

A bird's eye view of Singapore's streets at night.
A bird's eye view of Singapore's streets at night. | © cegoh / Pixabay
Photo of Tarandip Kaur
23 May 2018

Singapore’s transport system is constantly being expanded and changes quite a lot. One reason for this is that as more areas are developed, access is then required, which means more train stations, bus stops and roads. Regardless, with some ready knowledge of the system, you’ll soon be whizzing through this island like a local.


Buses are the lifeline of this country and offer what is the most affordable way to traverse the nation state easily. The great thing about buses is that they all reach every nook and cranny of this island and just by referring to your nearest bus stop or Google Maps will get you the directions you need down to the dot.

Local tip: If you plan on using public transport heavily, it is highly recommended to get the Singapore Tourist Pass, which provides many savings and can be used on trains as well.

Buses plying the streets of Singapore. | © Arulonline / Pixabay


Here’s another great transport option that is very popular in Singapore. They are called MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and move across key areas and neighbourhoods, which can be pretty handy for a visitor wanting to see the main attractions. A few handy notes though and probably the most important is that they can get pretty crowded at times. But if you intend to whizz from one end of Singapore to the other, they are far more suitable than a bus, which can take a more diverse route to reach the other side.

Local tip: Considering how packed they are, it is best to avoid trains during peak hours and highly advisable to check before taking the trains in case of a breakdown that can delay rides. Electronic boards at stations give notice of this and provide arrival times so it’s good to be alert especially if time is of the essence.

An underground MRT station in Singapore. | © cegoh / Pixabay


Though a common sight in Singapore, depending on your budget, you may want to limit taking taxis. Booking in advance costs more but guarantees you a ride if you need it. For most intents and purposes, they are very comfortable to go about in and will move faster than any other form of public transport. There are numerous companies that offer taxi services and they can be seen in the shade and hue of the vehicle, but they all hardly differ in pricing.

Local tip: Taxis can become costly, especially when they go through gentries (ERP) that are a form of road tax. The best thing is to use them only when necessary, like if you’re in a rush, unsure of a location or when the destination is inaccessible by bus or train.

A typical look inside of Singapore's taxis. | © Kevin Utting / Flickr

Private hire cars

Private hire cars are an increasingly popular option in a city that has a growing congestion problem on its public transport. At the same time it tends to be more affordable than taxis. This can also be a pretty cool way to get about with ease and comfort while making a friend along the way. In fact, you will also see taxis getting in on the bandwagon. That said, you will need to download either the Grab app or the Ryde app. Both offer the same services with pricing that differs according to timing and distance. Private hirers are especially useful for nights when you’re staying out to the wee hours and other forms of public transport are not available.

Local tip: A secret among locals, but keep a lookout on the respective private hire companies’ social media pages and updates on the app as they often throw out discounts and offers that can be really useful. Some of these discounts are non-transport related but overall, they go a long way in cutting costs.

Private hirer cars are increasing in number in Singapore. | © jo.sau / Flickr

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