Guide to Singapore Public Transport: How to Ride Trains and Buses

Singapore is one of the countries that has a well-connected public transport system. Not only the system, the supporting facilities are the best among the countries that we have visited so far. In general, public transport in Singapore consists of trains (MRT & LRT) and public buses. In this post, we will share practical information about how to board the train and buses.

Taking a Bus

Where do I board the bus?

You can board the bus from a bus stop or bus interchange. Public buses in Singapore will only board or alight passenger at the designated place.

All bus stops in Singapore provide bus route information guides. Several bus stops are also equipped with real-time bus arrival information to help commuters better manage their waiting time.

Bus stop signs showing bus stop code, name, and bus numbers

Boarding a bus from bus interchange, you have to know the bus number you want to take. There are several berths in the interchange. Each berth will be designated to maximum three specific bus route. The bus numbers are displayed under the berth number. If you already know the bus number, just queue at the designated berth and wait for the bus to come.

Bus interchange

How do I board the bus?

Always board the bus from the front door. However, exiting the bus can be from any door. Stroller and baby pram can board the bus without being folded. You need to fold the stroller only if the bus is full.

As for now, about 85% of Singapore buses are wheel-chair friendly. The government wants to have all the buses wheel-chair friendly by 2020.

How do I pay the bus fare?

If you have your travel card, tap your travel card at the card reader when you board the bus. Once you tap the card, the card will show the amount of balance restored. Before you alight the bus, don’t forget to tap out. The card reader will show the fare of the trip as well as the remaining balance on your card. If you forget to tap out, you will be charged farthest distance of the route. Of course, you don’t want that!

Travelcard reader in the bus. Don’t forget to tap out.

If you decided to pay the fare by cash, you can ask the driver the fare to your destination, and put the money into the box near the driver. Then collect the receipt from the machine behind the driver. Keep the receipt in case any random inspection. Paying the bus fare by cash, lease prepare an exact amount as no change will be given.


Riding a Train

MRT Network 

As for now, there are 5 lines of MRT and 3 LRT lines in Singapore. The MRT lines are:

  • East west line (EWL) – green
  • North south line (NSL) – red
  • Circle line (CCL) – yellow
  • Downtown line (DTL) – blue
  • Northeast line (NEL) – purple

and 3 LRT lines are: Bukit Panjang loop, Sengkang loop, and Punggol loop. The network map looks like this.

Singapore MRT & LRT Network Map

Before you board the train

Before boarding the train, make sure you have enough balance stored on your travel card. You can check or top up the balance at genera ticketing machine or at the passenger service counter. You can also ask for MRT map from the passenger service counter. They have the map in printed handy size.

How do I board the train?

All train fares in Singapore are paid using travel card. You cannot pay by cash. To enter or exit MRT stations, you need to tap your travel card at the gantry. Choose the gantry with the green light. It means you can pass through it. Gantries with red lights are for opposite direction.

MRT gantry

At the platform, there will be two tracks opposite each other. There are signs of the train directions at the platform gate. Make sure that you board the train according to your direction. If you are unsure, try to find the signboard at the platform. It will show you which platform you should board your train.

On board the train

Inside the train, English announcement will be given before MRT reach every station. An additional announcement in Tamil, Malay, and Chinese even will be given along specific line. You can also check the small display above the center pole (available inside every carriage) that is showing the station you are at or approaching.

By the way, you cannot eat or drink on board the train. Try to respect the other passengers by giving your seat for those who are in need, give space by putting down your backpack, or listen to music with your earphone in a moderate volume.

Inside the train: a display showing MRT station that the train approaching

Which exit should I take?

Exiting MRT stations can be confusing. Especially if the station has multiple exits. One exit might be closer to your destinations and another might be further. So, before going out the station, check the locality map. As an example, the locality map below tells you to take exit A to Tangs Plaza, exit D to Wisma Atria, and exit E to ION Orchard.

Locality Map showing MRT exits and the surroundings


Also, read our post on useful apps to navigate Singapore public transport here.

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