NEW OR RELOCATING TO SINGAPORE and unfamiliar with how to get around?
We’ve got your back with a quick guide on your options!
This is arguably the most common way to get around Singapore, especially for mid to long distances. You could travel across the longest stretch of the island from east to west in slightly over an hour. For many of us with a poor sense of direction, the colours of the respective lines are how we distinguish them. Compared with the complex subway lines of other metropolitan cities like New York and London, the Singapore MRT map is relatively easy to familiarize oneself with!
Photo Courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board
Photo Courtesy of Land Transport Authority of Singapore
The MRT is complemented by a comprehensive network of public buses. With intervals that are typically under 10 minutes during peak hours, it is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to travel across the island. It is no wonder that most Singaporeans takes a combination of both the bus and MRT to get to their destinations.
How to pay for MRT and bus rides
The EZ-Link is the best gateway to access Singapore’s buses and MRT. Its contactless nature makes public commute hassle-free while significantly reducing fares based on a distance-fare scheme. This is opposed to the costlier alternative involving single/return Standard Tickets for the MRT and cash for buses. EZ-Link cards can be purchased at bus interchange, MRT stations and 7-Eleven stores all over Singapore. Your card can be refunded for $5 upon returning it before your departure from Singapore. For more details, refer to the EZ link’s FAQ here.
Like most cities, the more convenient alternative to jostling with fellow commuters is to simply flag a cab. In humid Singapore, cabs are thankfully all air-conditioned and available 24/7. It is required by the law that all taxis use a metered fare, hence it is unlikely to find yourself in a situation of unfairly overcharged fares. Touting is also illegal so the process of getting a cab does not come with the kind of chaos seen in some cities that allow that.
Besides basic unit charges, surcharges like these also influence the final fare:
- Peak Period Surcharge: 25% of meter fare
Weekdays (6am – 9.30m), Everyday (6pm – 12midnight)
- Late Night Hiring Surcharge: 50% of meter fare
Every day (12midnight to 6am)
- Location Surcharges: S$2 – 5
To get an estimate of your final taxi fare, visit gothere.sg, or Taxi Singapore.
For more information about the taxi service fares & payment methods, visit this page on Singapore’s Land Transport Authority.
PRIVATE HIRE CAR
Uber and Grab –private hire transportation companies that compete with cabs – have been attested to be more affordable in this study by MoneySmart.SG. With upfront fares that factored all surcharges, they take the guesswork out of riding on cabs, a reason why they are disrupting the cab industry in various major cities.
Without midnight surcharge, Uber and Grab become the undisputed options to get around in the wee hours of the morning. However, these services practice dynamic pricing which sees surges in prices at areas experiencing increased demand. It is recommended that one compares with the estimated cab fare of the same journey on such occasions.
Driving around in your own car is clearly the most convenient means of transport since it does not depend on the availability of others’ vehicles nor face the uncertainty in the quality of the ride for each journey. Renting a car is the preferred option by most expats as it also removes the hassle of purchase, maintenance and re-selling a car on top of the workload involved in your relocation.
At BizLink Rent-A-Car, regardless of long-term rentals at a single agreed monthly rate, or short-term rentals over a weekend, all road tax, insurance, general maintenance and part replacements are taken care of by us. Our 24-hour roadside assistance is ready to deal with any automotive situation in your way so you can focus on the finer things in life. You also get to switch things up with a new and/or different car whenever you renew your contract!
If you only need a ride with your family and friends around the island or across the causeway to Johor Bahru, Malaysia for a short trip, our short-term car rental is available for a minimum duration of 3 days. All the services and benefits of long-term car rental is also extended to our customers on short-term rental.
So, renting a car is definitely worth considering for anyone who desires to drive your own transportation; an option that relieves you of the hassle of buying and maintaining the car (and getting rid of the car when its time to leave Singapore), and simply focus on the joy and beauty of living in the Garden City.
If you have events involving VIPs or if you are travelling in Singapore in moderately large numbers, you may wish to consider chauffeur services. There are plenty of companies offering such chauffeur services on top of Airport-Hotel Transfers.
Chauffeur service, available at BizLink Rent-A-Car can be hired for 1 way trips or by hourly bookings (typically at a minimum of 4 hours). You can also choose from a variety of vehicles, from luxury limousines like the Mercedes Benz E-Class to 13 seater Minibuses or even a 44 seater Coach!
OWN A CAR
Car ownership in Singapore
Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the world to own a car. It is usually not a consideration for many especially with the amount of work involved in getting one.
To begin, it is dictated by law that one would need a down-payment of at least 40% of the full cost of the car. A comprehensive car insurance is also needed to bid for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) with registration fees, and custom duties adding to the cost of car ownership. The process is muddled further with different bank options to handle the car loan financing. While it is not impossible, it is indeed an arduous journey many expats would rather avoid.
Duration of stay: < 12 months
To drive in Singapore with a valid foreign driving license, there is no need for a conversion to a local license. However, if your driving license is not in English, you are required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an official translation of your driving license in English.
Duration of stay: > 12 months
You will need to convert to a Singapore driving license before the end of the 12th month. To do so, you would be required to pass the local Basic Driving Test. Overseas theory test results are not accepted.