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Public Transportation in Singapore

Learning how to get around using public transportation in Singapore is an important step in adjusting to life in Singapore. In this article, we cover the local public transportation options.
|-Public Transportation in Singapore

Singapore, a bustling city-state in Southeast Asia, is renowned for its efficient and extensive public transportation system. The city is served by a variety of public transportation options, including the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), buses, and taxis. The MRT, operated by SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit, is the backbone of Singapore’s public transportation system, complemented by a comprehensive network of bus services. Taxis, while not the primary mode of public transportation, are readily available and offer a convenient alternative. Given the city’s compact size and excellent public transportation, it’s entirely possible for an expat living in Singapore to comfortably live without a car.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)

The MRT is Singapore’s primary mode of public transportation, serving millions of commuters daily. It’s a rapid transit system that spans the entire city, making it a convenient and efficient way to get around. The MRT is safe to use at all times of the day, with security personnel and CCTV cameras present at all stations. It’s also safe for women travelling alone and for children going to school. The cost of a ride depends on the distance travelled, but it’s generally affordable, with fares starting from SGD 0.83. The MRT operates from 5:30 AM to midnight, with trains arriving every 2-5 minutes during peak hours and 5-7 minutes during off-peak hours.


Buses in Singapore are a reliable and cost-effective mode of transportation, serving areas not covered by the MRT. They operate on a comprehensive network of routes, making it easy to get to any part of the city. Buses are safe to use, with drivers trained to ensure passenger safety. The cost of a bus ride depends on the distance travelled, with fares starting from SGD 0.83. Buses operate from 5:30 AM to midnight, with a limited number of night bus services available after midnight. The frequency of buses varies depending on the route and time of day, but they generally arrive every 10-15 minutes.


Taxis in Singapore offer a convenient and comfortable way to get around the city. They’re readily available and can be hailed on the street or booked through a mobile app. Taxis are safe to use, with drivers required to undergo stringent checks and training. The cost of a taxi ride depends on the distance travelled and the time of day, with fares starting from SGD 3.20. Taxis operate 24/7, making them a good option for late-night travel. However, they’re more expensive than the MRT and buses, especially during peak hours and on public holidays when surcharges apply.

Walking and Cycling

Given Singapore’s compact size, walking and cycling are viable options for getting around the city. The city is pedestrian-friendly, with well-maintained sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. Cycling is also encouraged, with dedicated cycling paths and bike-sharing services available. Both walking and cycling are safe, with strict traffic regulations in place to protect pedestrians and cyclists. However, the tropical climate can make walking and cycling uncomfortable, especially during the hot and humid afternoons.

In conclusion, Singapore’s public transportation system is efficient, extensive, and safe, making it entirely possible for an expat to live comfortably without a car. Whether you’re commuting to work, going to school, or exploring the city, you can rely on the MRT, buses, and taxis to get you to your destination. And for short distances, walking and cycling are great options.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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