Navigating Singapore is a breeze, thanks to its comprehensive public transportation system. With MRT stations scattered throughout the city and buses with stops every few dozen meters, my husband and I concluded that there was no need to take a taxi during our stay. Instead, we opted to travel by MRT or bus.
We particularly enjoyed taking the MRT to get around Singapore, which is why we intentionally chose a hotel located near an MRT station. For a review of our hotel, Check Inn @Little India, be sure to read our article on it.
In this post, I'd like to share a step-by-step guide on using the MRT in Singapore. This information will be especially helpful for those planning their first trip to Singapore, as you'll likely use this mode of transportation frequently during your stay.
For travelers who have just landed at Changi Airport, you can find MRT stations in both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. Simply head downstairs using the escalator or elevator to reach the station.
If you land at Terminal 1, make your way to Terminal 2 or Terminal 3 via the link bridge or Skytrain, which connects all three terminals. Those arriving at Terminal 4 can take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 3.
The MRT from Changi Airport stops at Expo Station and Tanah Merah. If you need to transfer to the Downtown Line, alight at Expo Station. For those looking to switch to the East West Line, get off at Tanah Merah Station.
The first step to use Singapore's MRT system is to get yourself a payment card. This card will be your key to entering and exiting the gates at each station. Foreign tourists have a few different card options when it comes to riding the MRT in Singapore, including:
EZ-Link and NETS are two of the most popular e-money in Singapore. Both cards can be used to pay for MRT, LRT, and bus fares. We can also use them to go shopping in selected merchants. For Indonesian folks, this cards works the same as Flazz, Brizzi, or Tap Cash.
The card costs SGD 10, out of which SGD 5 is stored for use. We can top up the card in numerous sales points on the island. Please read our article about How to Buy an EZ-Link card to know more about purchasing it, and How to Top-up EZ-Link Card to get the details about checking and top-up the balance.
For hassle-free city exploration without the need to constantly top up your e-money, the Singapore Tourist Pass is your perfect companion.
The Singapore Tourist Pass grants tourists unlimited travel on Singapore's basic bus services, MRT, and LRT trains for the duration of its validity. With this card, you can enjoy public transportation without worrying about checking your remaining balance each time you use it.
This convenient card is available in one to three-day options, depending on the type of pass you purchase. Prices for standard use range from SGD 10 to SGD 20, making it an affordable choice for your Singapore adventure. To purchase this, please visit Transitlink Ticket Office located at every corner of the MRT station.
Suppose you have a Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card with a contactless logo; you can also use it on the Singapore MRT. For me, as and Indonesian, several Indonesian banks support this feature, including BCA, Sinarmas, Mega, and others.
I've personally tried using a BCA Visa credit card for MRT payments, and the process was seamless, with no noticeable difference from using an EZ-Link card. If you're curious about the full experience, check out my article detailing my journey using a BCA Visa credit card on the Singapore MRT:
Once you've secured one of the payment cards mentioned above, it's time to head to the station. Most stations are underground and feature multiple entrances. Feel free to enter through any door, as they all lead to the same area inside.
If you're carrying large items like suitcases, it's highly recommended to use the elevator rather than the escalator. This helps avoid disrupting the flow of traffic on the escalator stairs, which are often quite busy.
Upon arriving at the station, be sure to check the MRT line map to determine your destination station and the MRT line you'll need to take. These maps are typically found at the station entrance or near the gate before entering the platform.
Choosing the correct line is crucial, as some stations only have one line, while others have two to three lines. Take a look at this comprehensive list of MRT lines in Singapore and nearby attractions to make the most of your journey.
To enter the MRT station, tap your payment card on the entry gate with a green arrow for the line you wish to take. The remaining balance will appear on the screen and the gate will open.
If it doesn't, read the information displayed on the screen. It could be due to low balance, a faulty card, or a malfunctioning gate. Make sure to read the information on the screen carefully for further instructions.
Head to the train platform. On one platform, there should be two trains in the opposite direction. Look at the signage to choose the correct train to avoid the wrong destination.
Wait until your train comes. Make sure to wait on the other side of the door, so you don't block other people's way. When it's your board turn, wait for other passengers to exit before you enter the coaches.
When you get on the train, find an empty seat. However, if you don't find one, hold on to the hanging strap to help you stand still in the MRT. Here are some dos and don'ts of taking the MRT in Singapore:
The first seating in the MRT is usually reserved for those in need. This seat has a different color and has signs on its wall. This seating is designed for seniors and people with disabilities (including those with temporary disabilities such as a broken foot, pregnant, or someone carrying small children.) So, make sure the seat is vacant.
MRT normally forbids commuters from consuming food and beverage on board and in the station area. This is to prevent commuters from littering the train and its station. As for smoking, passengers who smoke in every station area will be arrested.
Durian is a popular fruit in Southeast Asia, known for its creamy texture and unique odor. However, its strong scent has caused controversy, with some countries banning it from public transportation or enclosed spaces.
In Singapore, durian is widely available at markets and stalls, and it is best to consume it on-site rather than risk causing discomfort to fellow commuters on the MRT system.
It's important to be mindful of others when using public transportation and to follow the rules and regulations set in place to ensure a safe and pleasant experience for everyone. If not, bringing durians onto the MRT may result in fine.
It is crucial to pay attention to the announcements made while using trains, particularly those informing about the upcoming stop to avoid missing your destination. Keep in mind that not all trains have screens or indicators displaying information about the next station.
The announcements made on the Singapore MRT system are primarily in English. However, there are some lines where announcements are made in four languages simultaneously: English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. These languages were selected as they are Singapore's official languages, reflecting the country's multicultural nature.
When approaching your destination station, move towards the exit to help with the process of getting in and out of the station smoothly. After arriving at your destination, please exit the train in an orderly manner, being mindful of the gap between the train floor and the platform.
It's essential to pay attention to the direction signs when exiting the station. If you are leaving the station, look for the signs labeled "Way Out." If you need to transfer to a different line, follow the signs indicating the line you want to take.
To leave the station area, tap the card at the exit gate. You know the drill already, if you tap it, the screen will display the information about the fare and the remaining balance of your card.
Last but not least, choose your exit gate. We can leave through any exit door. But to save time, you should choose the closest exit door to your destination. Look at the "Locality Map" near the exit gate to decide which doors you go to.
So, there they are - the steps for riding the MRT in Singapore. It is relatively straightforward, isn't it? On the first day, it's natural to feel a little overwhelmed and need time to adapt. However, over time, most people become accustomed to the system's flow.
Singapore's MRT operates from 05.30 am until 01.00 pm. However, when there's a special event like F1, the operational hour will be extended and adjusted based on the event.
Commuters are also given the duration between the first and last boarding (not alighting). Two hours is the maximum for a bus or train within a journey. If you stay inside the area station for more than two hours, you will be charged an additional fare.
Should you have any more questions about Singapore's MRT, please comment down below! We'll try to answer them one by one. Let's roll!