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Taking the Bus in Singapore

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Taking the Bus is the cheapest way to move about in Singapore. There are two bus companies on the island, SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation, which also runs the Singapore MRT trains. Together, they move two million passengers per day with some three hundred bus routes covering the island.

This is how the buses look like:

SBS Transit busSBS Transit bus
photo source
authorshipCalvin Teo

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SMRT busSMRT bus
photo source

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Depending on demand, you can expect a waiting time of between 8 to 30 minutes for the next bus. When boarding the bus, you are expected to prepare the exact fare as no charge is given. For convenience, you can use the EZ-Link card. It is additionally attractive as you get a discount for using the card over the cash fare.

Normal bus services run from 5:30 am in the morning to 23:45 pm, with the maximum fare being S$1.90. If you need to come home past midnight, there are the Night Owl by SBS Transit and Night Rider by SMRT buses which run from downtown Singapore to various parts of the suburb. These charge a flat rate of S$3.00.

All the bus interchanges are built within walking distance of the MRT Stations, so you can easily walk from one to the other.

At the bus station, browse the Bus Services board showing what buses are available, and the routes they take. Cross reference the route against the fare structure to find out how much your trip will cost. For easy referencing, the route and fare structure are colour coded.

Bus Services BoardBus Services Board (11 September 2010)

Find the bus number for your destination. Then determine which Bus Berth the bus will be arriving at. Each Bus Berth may have several lines of Bus Stands. Proceed to line up at the Numbered Bus Stand which is colour coded.

Waiting lines at the Bus BerthWaiting lines at the Bus Berth (11 September 2010)

When you board the bus, gently tap your EZ-Link card to the card reader. It will make a beep. If you are unfamiliar with the route, you may ask the driver to drop you at your destination. Before disembarking from the bus, tap your EZ-Link card to the card reader again. This will allow the amount of your journey to be deducted from your card - if you forgot to do that, you will be charged the fare for the whole bus route.

If you do know where you are alighting, press the bus bell before you arrive at the Bus Stop. It is the yellow device with a red button on a stainless steel pillar at regular intervals in the bus.

Bus bell: press it before the bus arrives at your stopBus bell: press it before the bus arrives at your stop (12 September 2010)

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