Singapore has a modern road network which is linked to Malaysia via the Johor-Singapore Causeway. To cut congestion, Singapore has a toll system called the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) scheme, which charges motorists for access to busier areas. The system uses a unit inside the vehicle to register charges, and it is illegal for vehicles not to be equipped with one. Short-term visitors to Singapore may drive on a foreign driving licence provided that they have an English language copy, but anyone entering the country on a pass or intending staying for more than 12 months must convert to a Singaporean licence, usually by passing a theory test.
In a nod to its British colonial past, vehicles in Singapore are driven on the left and most road signs are in English. Drivers must be aged 18 or over, and all vehicles must be taxed and insured to be road legal. It is important to note that seatbelts are compulsory for everyone in a vehicle and headlights must be switched on between the hours of 7pm and 7am. For more information on driving in Singapore, visit the Land Transport Authority website.
Taxis are readily available across Singapore, with over 26,000 vehicles run by a variety of operators. Most are metered and the fares are relatively inexpensive, although buses and other forms of public transport are usually cheaper. Although you can usually either book or hail a taxi, there are some restrictions preventing pickups on major bus routes.
A modern, air-conditioned bus fleet provides a cheap and efficient way of travelling in Singapore. Routes are operated by SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation, and you can plan your journey and calculate the correct fare using the TransitLink Bus eGuide.
Singapore has two major national railway systems: Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT). Services are operated by SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation, and a map of both systems is available through the PublicTransport@SG website along with a fare calculator. Rail services to Malaysia are also available via the Johor-Singapore Causeway, and a monorail service called the Sentosa Express provides a link to the southern resort island of Sentosa.
Despite the country’s small size, Singapore is home to one of the busiest airports in the world. The impressively modern-looking Changi International Airport actually opened in 1981, but has been continually developed since to remain a key facility for flights across Asia. Over 50 million passengers pass through the airport each year en route to destinations in over 60 countries. The national carrier, Singapore Airlines, is one of many airlines to operate out of Changi as its central hub. Domestic flights are largely unnecessary, but some private services do operate out of Changi and the smaller Seletar Airport.
Because of its convenient location and the country’s relative lack of natural resources, the Port of Singapore is among the world’s busiest in terms of shipping tonnage handled each year. Not so much a single port in the traditional sense as a collection of coastal shipping facilities, the Port of Singapore operates ferries to neighbouring islands as well as destinations in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Planning a journey
There are several season tickets and concessions available for both tourists and permanent residents in Singapore. For more information on getting around the main island, visit the TransitLink website.