I’ve just had a few days in Singapore and despite the fact I’ve lived there and visited many times I’ve never used the underground transport system (or MRT) as they call it. My experience was 10/10. It’s spotlessly clean, it has intense coverage over the island, it’s air conditioned, it’s not crowded even in rush hour and leaves the London tube for dead.
When I lived in Singapore in the early 1990’s it was new with just one line. Now it has 5 lines (with three more underway) and 117 stations with 52 more under construction or planned. One station is being opened every 2 months until its completion in 2030 – impressive!
The population in Singapore is 5.7 million and over of 3.1 million people ride the MRT daily. They have completely nailed the public transport system by placing high levies on cars and making public transport efficient, easy and so affordable.
I bought a three-day tourist MRT ticket for $30 with a $10 refund for the plastic card, so it can be recycled. If you choose to buy a single fare, about 4-8 stops, it’s a little over one dollar.
As well as its efficiency and affordability, a couple of other things really stood out.
The MRT is clean
When you see marble with no chewing gum stuck to its surface, it looks amazing (chewing gum in Singapore was banned in 1992). In addition, there’s no eating or drinking in the MRT reducing the filth with no need for rubbish bins. I didn’t see one piece of litter either.
People know how to queue
All the stations have glass doors protecting the riders from the tracks, with defined areas to queue. On my very first MRT experience I was standing in the wrong place (in front of the opening door) and was asked to move to the side and queue.
The MRT caters for the diasabled
And finally, Singapore caters well to its less mobile population. Lift access is available in all stations. Also, inside the carriages are designated areas for wheelchairs and seats reserved for disabled folk. An ad campaign, ’Stand up Stacy’ encouraging the public to stand up for people with needs.
Next time you are in Singapore, get an MRT map and see what you think. While taxis are cheap, this is a clean efficient way to get around the city too.