Cheap, Fast and Painless Commuting in Singapore – Is It Possible?

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Commuting to work in Singapore can be even more stressful than the work itself. From desperately begging the bus to arrive to fighting tooth and nail to get a spot on the MRT, it’s a bloodbath.

Taking the bus or MRT is relatively cheap, at least compared to driving. However, trusting in the reliability of buses is like believing you’ll meet your soulmate at Geylang, while taking the MRT during rush hour is as enjoyable as burning in Hell.

While commuting during peak hour in a place as crowded as Singapore will probably never be fun, there are certainly ways to minimise the pain.

 

1. Walk Or Cycle To The MRT Station

One of the reasons people complain about the buses and MRT so much is their increasing unpredictability. You might have reached the bus stop or the MRT station, but who knows when you’ll get on an actual bus or train?

If you can, replace a leg of your journey with walking or cycling. For instance, if you live 2km from the MRT station, riding a bicycle to the station should take less than 10 minutes, which is probably longer than the time you spend waiting in desperation at the bus stop.

 

2. Reduce The Number Of Legs In Your Journey

If you have to take two buses to get to your destination, a bit of research might reveal a direct bus that can pick you up at a different bus stop a bit further off. It’s less frustrating taking a 15 minute walk to catch a direct bus than to waste time waiting for two buses that seem determined to arrive in time to celebrate your 80th birthday.

 

3. Get A Motorcycle Licence

This is my main mode of transport, and one that used to save me 20-30 hours per month. If you live miles away from the closest MRT station and need to travel during rush hour, this can be a great option. Traffic jams can be bypassed by riding in between the lanes, saving lots of time during rush hour.

In addition, small bikes consume much less fuel than cars do, ERP charges are half the price and you can find free parking even in the CBD. You can get a cheap motorcycle for $2,000 to $3,000. What’s not to like?

 

4. Do Something Productive During Your Commute

If you’re lucky enough to live close to an MRT station, speed isn’t as much of an issue as comfort. Before you set foot in an MRT station, make sure you’re armed to the teeth with things to do to mentally block out the seething crowds.

Listen to podcasts, play games on your mobile phone, read a book or do whatever else it takes to make the time you spend commuting more pleasant and productive.

Do you have any commuting hacks to share? Let us know in the comments.

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • Lewis Loh

    Ride a bicycle all the way!!! Both ways!

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