Changi Airport may have fallen from the top spot in the “World’s Best Airports” for 2021, but their public transport system stays on top. In a report by consulting firm McKinsey, in which public transports from 24 cities were compared, Singapore prevailed in most categories. A US-based travel website, Far & Wide, also ranked Singapore’s public transport top in the world.
But the capital city’s public transport system wasn’t always the best. Before it attained world-class status, Singapore only had a small transportation unit within the Public Works Department (PWD). It was the only agency that oversaw the development in public transportation. Back then, there were no trains yet, only buses that worked independently from each other.
In the 1980s, plans for a Mass Transit System (MRT) were introduced, as well as those for major expressways. SMRT, which would be Singapore’s leading public transport operator, was founded in 1987. Since then, Singapore’s transportation system developed, outperforming other countries’ public transport. Until now, it’s still developing, and SMRT continues to improve passengers’ commuting experience.
Below are some facts about Singapore’s public transport that makes it the best:
In McKinsey’s report, Singapore clinched the top spot in public transport affordability. Far & Wide praised Singapore for the same reason. Compared with the public transport rates of Madrid ($13) and London ($22), Singapore only charges $10 to its tourists. That’s already for unlimited bus and train rides. Hong Kong, which also charges $10 to tourists, was still outperformed by Singapore. That’s because Hong Kong charges children aged 3 to 11 around $5, while Singapore gives free rides to kids under 0.9 meters tall.
This major step toward affordability was made in 2013. In addition to the $10 fee for tourists, Singapore also discounted the fares for low-wage workers. They now pay 15% less of the regular fare. More than one million passengers benefited from this new scheme.
It’s Efficient and Safe
Singapore’s public transport takes efficiency to a new level. They don’t require their passengers to line up for tickets. Instead, they created EZ-link card, which allows passengers to connect to a public transport app. There, they can plan their trips and view ticketing options.
This incredible efficiency made Singapore’s public transport more sustainable. When you walk into any of their train platforms, you’d never see a single piece of discarded tickets anywhere. Their dependence on technology allowed them to produce less waste, and their passengers more satisfied.
Superb safety is another reason passengers love Singapore’s public transport. You can wait for your train with your phone out, and no one would bother you. That’s why even rich Singaporeans don’t hesitate to commute.
Luxurious Air Travel
Changi Airport is unlike any other. It boasts a 10-story attraction called “Jewel”, which has a hotel, more than 280 shops, and the world’s largest indoor waterfall. It’s
No Increase in Rates During the Pandemic
Under normal circumstances, public transport fares in Singapore should’ve increased by up to 4.4%. But the pandemic happened, so the Public Transport Council (PTC) decided to postpone the fare hike. PTC chairman Richard Magnus noted that the council recognises the exceptional circumstances Singaporeans faced. As such, they considered the impact it will have on commuters, and decided not to increase the fares to ease the commuters’ burden.
In addition, up to 2 million Singaporeans will continue to enjoy concessionary fares. And even though public transport ridership fell during the circuit breaker period, services were maintained at pre-pandemic levels, allowing commuters to travel safely and hassle-free.
The council also funded cleaning regimes to minimize the risks of spreading COVID-19 on public transport. It didn’t result in pre-pandemic ridership levels, but the council said they were expecting government subsidies to make up for their losses. True enough, in 2020, the government was expected to spend nearly $1 billion for renewing and upgrading rail operating assets, and another $1 billion for bus services yearly for the next five years.
Singaporeans are lucky to have competent public transport operators and a council. They continuously find ways to improve their services, even if they’re already considered world-class. They never take shortcuts when it comes to efficiency. When the pandemic ends, it won’t be surprising if travelers flock Singapore the first chance they get. They’d feel safe and well-taken of in any of their public transport vehicles.
If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.
And thanks for reading! 🙂