Exploring Singapore's public transportation system is incredibly user-friendly and stress-free. Besides the MRT, buses are another great option for getting around the city. Singapore's buses are comfortable, and they cover almost all main roads, making them a convenient choice for many travelers.
My husband and I often take the bus if our tourist destination is far from its nearest MRT station. We think that buses also make a good alternative if our accommodation is not close to an MRT station since bus stops are usually located every few hundred meters.
If you're planning a trip to Singapore and want to try to ride bus, this article provides a complete tutorial for you. Stay tuned!
Similar to the MRT, you'll need a payment card to ride the bus in Singapore. You'll tap this card when boarding and alighting the bus. There are several types of payment cards available:
EZ-Link and NETS cards are the most common electronic money (e-money) cards in Singapore. You can use them on various modes of transportation, such as the MRT, LRT, and buses. They're also accepted for shopping and dining in restaurants.
For a step-by-step guide on purchasing an EZ-Link card, you can refer to the "How to Buy EZ-Link" article. Additionally, the "How to Top-Up EZ-Link Card" article provides a comprehensive tutorial on checking and reloading your card balance as needed
If you're visiting Singapore for 1 to 3 days and don't want the hassle of topping up your balance, consider the Singapore Tourist Pass. This card allows unlimited rides on the MRT, LRT, and buses without the need to reload.
The Singapore Tourist Pass is available for 1 to 3 days, with prices ranging from $10 to $20 for the standard card. To purchase, visit the Transitlink Ticket Office at various MRT stations.
You can also use Visa and Mastercard debit or credit cards with a contactless logo to pay for Singapore buses. I've used a contactless bank cards for MRT payments, and the process is similar to using an EZ-Link card.
You can refer to the related article below about using Visa cards for riding MRT in Singapore for more information:
Once you have your payment card, head to the nearest bus stop. Singapore has various types of bus stops, with the most common featuring seats and canopies.
Each bus stop displays information about the bus numbers that stop there, as well as an information board showing the route and stops for each bus.
In addition to these "dedicated" bus stops, there are also bus stops that only use sign posts, without seats or canopies. The sign post usually indicates the bus stop name and the bus numbers stopping by there. While these stops may not have complete route information, you can easily find it on Google Maps or the TL SimplyGo app.
Next, wait for your bus to arrive at the bus stop. Each bus displays its direction and route number on the front. When the bus approaches, wave your hand to signal the driver to stop.
Once the bus stops, enter through the front door. Do not use the center door, as it's reserved for exiting passengers. If there's a line, wait patiently and don't push your way inside.
As you enter the bus, tap your payment card on one of the two card readers located near the entrance – one near the windshield and the other to the right of the entrance. After tapping your card, find an available seat or, if all seats are occupied, stand while holding onto the provided straps.
Each bus has priority seats designated for the elderly, pregnant women, children, and passengers with disabilities. Some Singapore buses are double-deckers, offering the option to sit on the top floor by ascending the stairs behind the driver. This is especially convenient for longer journeys.
When using public transportation, remember that smoking, eating, drinking, and littering are prohibited on the bus. Additionally, durians are not allowed.
Knowing when to alight from the bus is relatively simple, even for beginners. Some buses announce and display upcoming stops, while others only announce them, and a few do not provide any information at all.
If the bus announces or displays the next stop, it's easy to know when to get off. Otherwise, it's a good idea to monitor your location using Google Maps.
When your destination is approaching, press the stop button, typically located on a bus pole or wall near your seat. There's no need to shout or knock on the bus window.
As the bus comes to a stop, move towards the exit door in the center of the bus to ensure a quick departure, minimizing the bus's waiting time at the stop. Have your payment card ready to tap when exiting.
Once the bus has stopped at your destination, tap your payment card on one of the two card readers near the exit – one on the right and one on the left. If you're using an EZ-Link card, the reader will display the fare deducted and the remaining balance on your card.
After tapping your card, exit the bus in an orderly fashion. Congratulations, you've now arrived at your destination bus stop! Riding a bus in Singapore is simple and efficient, so don't hesitate to give it a try and enjoy the comfortable experience.