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Driving & Public Transport

Singapore (City) - Driving & Public Transport

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Singapore’s road network is extensive and excellent. Driving in Singapore is on the right-hand side. For general information on driving licenses and conversions, refer to the Expat Focus Singapore country guide.

Private Car ownership

It is openly recognized that owning and driving a private car in Singapore is very costly. The cost of cars in Singapore is a familiar grouse among all residents. The Singapore government plays an active role in regulating the ownership and usage of private cars to mitigate traffic woes on Singapore roads.

There are several costs associated with purchasing a private car in Singapore. Among them, the purchase of a Certificate of Entitlement (COE), whose cost is based on a bidding system and can be high. In September 2008, the COE price was about SGD$14,000. COEs are valid for 10 years. Car prices are also subject to high import duties and registration fees. Additional costs associated with the usage of a private car can get cumulatively high. The Electric Road Pricing (ERP) charges range from SGD$0.50 to $3.00, depending on where you want to go and the time. There are very few non-paying car parks in Singapore. Car park charges can be expensive in the central shopping and business district areas, and spaces are limited, especially on weekends. Singapore car drivers keep a stored-value cash card in a specially-installed reader in the car that enables drivers in Singapore to pay car park and ERP charges.

If you would still like to own and drive a private car in Singapore for special occasions, or for weekend trips with the family, the private car rental scheme and the off-peak car scheme are two alternatives.

Public Transport

To encourage more people to switch to public transport, Singapore’s public transport system has improved tremendously over the years, and is by far, the most efficient and affordable ways of moving around the island.

To enjoy transfer rebates between bus and train services, purchase a travel card known as EZ link. The EZ Link card doubles up as a cashless payment method as it is also a stored value card that can be used at places such as Macdonald’s and convenience stores like 7-11. They can be bought at any train station.

There are 2 train systems - the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT). The former covers most of the entire island, from the north to the south, from the east to the west and up northeast. The LRT system is a driverless system and covers mainly residential areas such as SengKang and Punggol. Click here for more information on train network areas, schedules and fares.

The public bus system complements the train systems. The two major bus operators are SBS Transit Ltd and SMRT Buses Ltd, and both bus companies offer additional night services (between 11pm and 4:30 am). See the following links - Nite Owl Services and nightrider bus services - for more details. For daily commuting to the central areas (Shenton Way, Suntec City) in a more direct and comfortable way, there are premium bus services. This service is a good option for working professionals who work in the central areas and wish to travel in comfort (a seat is guaranteed on these premium services) without breaking the bank by taking a private taxi to work daily.

Most expatriates rely on taxis to move around Singapore. There is a fleet of 19,000 taxis operated by several taxi operators. All taxis are metered. Apart from the metered fare, there are surcharges, such as peak hour surcharges and ERP surcharges. All taxis carry four passengers. It is sometimes difficult to get a taxi during rainy days and on weekends. Individual taxi companies have hotline numbers to make taxi bookings, but if you are not selective about the taxi company, 6-DIAL-CAB (6-3425-222) is the common taxi booking number. For more information on taxi fares and hailing a taxi, click here.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.