The Status and Service Level of Singapore’s Public Transport System

The Status and Service Level of Singapore’s Public Transport System

With its growing population, Singapore has prepared itself for future transportation and tourism challenges. They took critical steps to rethink technology and policy decisions to redesign its infrastructures, transportation, and overall urban lifestyle. This gave them assurance that their initiatives will meet the immediate needs of the small city state.

SMRT, Singapore’s leading multi-modal public transport operator, has made notable contributions in its transport services in recent years. Most of this development was led by Seah Moon Ming, one of the corporate executives of SMRT.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world’s best transport system and how it achieved its purpose of providing well-connected public transport to its locals and tourists.

The best public transport system in the world

In a 2021 report published by consulting company McKinsey, Singapore is one of the best and most affordable urban transport systems around the world. The report compared 24 major cities based on the five main dimensions: affordability, availability, convenience, efficiency, and sustainability. It covered different transportation modes — public, shared, walking, cycling, and personal.

The Lion City also took the top spot for urban transport affordability, including safety and efficiency. Singapore took a major leap towards affordability in 2013 after they reviewed the public transport fares and introduced new measures by offering a 15% discount for low-salary workers and free travel for kids and other concessions. They also scored higher in terms of flexibility and convenience of the ticketing system, calling it an “outstanding feature”.

Getting around Singapore


The fastest way to tour around the city is to take the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. They are clean, extensive, affordable, efficient, and easy to navigate — basically everything you’re looking for in public transit.

The best part is that the MRT station is just a few walks away from Singapore’s most popular attractions, such as the Botanic Garden, Bugis Junction, Haji Lane, Arab Street, Singapore Flyer, and the Marina Bay Sands. The extensive rail network links the city’s key tourist spots, so it’s easy and convenient for travelers to explore the breathtaking island. Every station has maps to help you travel from one location to another and guide you on which route to take.

aerial view photography of train on bridge

There are plenty of options to take MRT journeys. You can avail of the Singapore Tourist Pass (STP), a stored-value card that allows unlimited travel for one to three days. You can get the pass at selected MRT stations, the Concession Card Replacement Office, or at any automated STP Kiosks. You can also use your Visa bank card or foreign-issued Mastercard to pay for your transport fares.


If you plan to visit places that can’t be reached by MRT or bus, taxis are a convenient choice. Singapore cabs are metered and also come with sub charges depending on the place, time, and the taxi company you boarded. They are also reasonably priced, and a better option if you need to get somewhere in a hurry. Most drivers can speak English, so feel free to ask them for travel tips.


Singapore also takes pride in its bus system because of its large networks of routes around the city. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also a great way to travel if you want to explore the scenic spots of Singapore while savoring the air-conditioned comfort and admiring the beautiful architecture and lush greenery.

Like the MRT, you can use the STP or stored value card to pay the bus fare. When boarding the bus, look for the electronic card reader near the bus driver and simply tap the card to charge your bus fare. Once you arrived at the destination, don’t forget to tap the card again.

If you have a baby stroller with you, you can always approach the bus captain should you require assistance.

Private/rental car

If you want to avoid public transport altogether, you can always take a personal car. But keep in mind that Singapore has some traffic, so driving can be a huge inconvenience and parking can be quite expensive. Otherwise, if you prefer to travel by car, you can check out car rental offices near the airport.


Cycling around the sunny island of Singapore is the best way to enjoy the scenic spots and get your healthy dose of Vitamin D. The city boasts of its well-connected network of bike paths, and license operators allow the rental of shared bicycles. Buses and train stations also allow commuters to bring their foldable bike when boarding.

There’s no doubt that the comprehensive developments in the urban city of Singapore have played a critical role in improving its transport management system, making transport services more reliable, affordable, sustainable, and efficient. In the next years, locals and tourists should look forward to more exciting changes in the transport system and its impact on the overall travel experience and quality of life.

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