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Life in Singapore
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Transport within Singapore is mainly land-based. Almost all parts of Singapore are accessible by road, including islands such as Sentosa and Jurong Island. The other major form of transportation within Singapore is rail: the Mass Rapid Transit which runs the length and width of Singapore, and the Light Rail Transit which runs within a few neighbourhoods. The main island of Singapore is connected to the other islands by ferryboat services.

Singapore also has many links to the rest of the world — there are two bridges which link Singapore to Malaysia — the Causeway, and the Second Link. The Singapore Changi Airport is a major aviation hub for many airlines, and Singapore is a major transshipment port.


Pre and post world wars

British nurses taking a trishaw ride during their time off, circa 1946.

Before World War 2, rickshaws were an important part of urban public transportation. Rickshaws were taken over by the trishaw after the world war. The Trishaw has been discontinued for usage as a means of transportation after 1980. However, there are some trishaws left which now serve as tourist attractions, taking tourists for a ride around the downtown district for a unique Singapore experience.

Land Transportation within Singapore

Tricyle rickshaws (or better known as trishaws in Singapore) are used to ferry tourists around the city area for sightseeing trips.


Singapore pioneered the modern use of toll roads to enter the most congested city area with the Singapore Area Licensing Scheme, which has since been replaced with the Electronic Road Pricing, a form of electronic toll collection.

  • Total length of expressways: 150 km
  • Total length of major arterial roads: 604 km
  • Total length of collector roads: 468 km
  • Total length of local access roads: 2040 km
  • Total road length: 3262 km[1]

Traffic drives on the left which is typical in Commonwealth countries.


Total population: 514,685^ (as of 2007) [2] ^Excluding taxis and tax exempted cars


A section of the Ayer Rajah Expressway.
The 9 expressways completed,plus the 3 semi-expressways in Singapore.The Marina Coastal Expressway is still under construction.

The planning, construction and maintenance of the road network is overseen by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), and this extends to expressways in Singapore. These form key transport arteries between the distinct towns and regional centres as laid out in Singapore's urban planning, with the main purpose of allowing vehicles to travel from satellite towns to the city centre and vice-versa in the shortest possible distance. These expressways include:

The influence of expressways on Singapore's transport policy developed shortly after independence during the history of Singapore because of frequent traffic congestion in the Central district. The aim was to encourage residential development in other parts of the island and give residents in these new "satellite towns" a convenient link between their homes and their workplaces (which were mostly situated around the city centre.)

Cable car

Singapore's only cable car system, the Singapore Cable Car, plies between Mount Faber on the main island of Singapore and the resort island of Sentosa as an alternative means of accessing that tourist attraction.

Public Transportation within Singapore

The Bus, MRT, LRT and taxi system make up the public transport system in Singapore.

Public transport in Singapore covers a variety of transport modes such as bus, rail and taxi and is widely utilised by her population. This is a result of great emphasis by the Government of Singapore in order to promote its use over private transport. About 5.308 million trips[4] are made on a daily basis on the public transport system and at least half of its population utilizes it daily.

The public transport system is the most important means of transportation to work and to school for Singaporeans. About 52.4% of Singaporean residents (excluding foreigners) go to work using public transport according to the Singapore Census of Population 2000 [5], with 41.6% using private transport and the remaining 6.1% not requiring any form of transport. Amongst school-going residents, 41.5% of them goes to school by public transport, 24.9% by private transport, and a further 30.1% do not require any form of transport at all.

A slight dip has been noted in the number of Singaporeans and permanent residents using public transport compared to 1990, which had 55.0% and 46.3% of them going to work and to school respectively. The government aims to reverse this trend such that the total average number of commuters on public transport rises above 75% of all trips made.


SBS Transit[6]

  • Routes: 217
  • Fleet: More than 2,700
  • Daily trips: 2.34 million passenger trips

SMRT Corporation[7]

  • Routes: 78 (48 trunk, 30 feeder)
  • Fleet: 863
  • Daily Trips: about 787,066 passenger trips[8]


The current MRT&LRT system in Singapore.
  • Total length of railways (MRT & LRT): 138.2 km[9]

The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a standard gauge system with a total rail network length of 118.9 km and 70 stations. There are four main lines running at present: the North South Line, the East West Line (both operated by SMRT Corporation), the North East Line and the Circle Line (operated by SBS Transit).

In 1998, a 7.8 km-Light Rail Transit (LRT) system with 14 stations was introduced in Bukit Panjang. The Sengkang LRT Line, a 10.7 km light rail line was opened in 2003; a third LRT line, Punggol LRT Line, was opened in 2005 Jan with the East Loop of the system serving the residences in Punggol.

A 2.1 km Sentosa Express monorail built by Hitachi Asia Ltd was opened on 15 January 2007, linking Sentosa island to mainland Singapore.


Total fleet: 24,022 (as of April 2008)[10]

All taxis are fitted with meters; all are air conditioned; the majority of the taxis are 5-seaters; about 90% of taxis have radiophones; call booking is done via GPS or digital voice dispatch. All passengers must fasten their seat belts by law. Most taxis run on diesel fuel.

Daily trips: about 588,632

Taxi companies and vehicle types used:

ComfortDelgro Comfort Taxis (11147 cabs)[11]

ComfortDelgro CityCab (3835 cabs)[11]

Individual Yellow-Top Cab (482 cabs)[11]

SMRT Taxis (3004 cabs)[11]

Union Energy Corporation TransCab (2139 cabs)[11]

Premier Taxis SilverCab (2436 cabs)[11]

Smart Automobile (781 cabs)[11]

Prime Taxis (198 cabs)[11]

Public Transport Regulations

The public transport system is regulated by the Land Transport Authority, which oversees the three main modes of public transportation. Fare regulation and bus service standards are under the purview of an independent body, the Public Transport Council, while TransitLink, established by SBS Transit, SMRT Trains and SMRT Buses, helps to create an integrated multi-modal system with a common fare-payment mode, information platform, and a physical network without duplication of services.

The policies of the Land Transport Authority are meant to encourage the use of public transport in Singapore. The key aims are to provide an incentive to reside away from the Central district, as well as to reduce air pollution. Singapore has a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) rail system consisting of five lines. There is also a system of bus routes throughout the island, most of which have air conditioning due to Singapore's tropical climate. Buses without air conditioning are gradually being phased out. A contactless smartcard called the EZ-link card is used to pay bus and MRT fares.

Public Transport for Tourists

Launched in December 2007 by Land Transport Authority, Singapore Tourism Board and EZ-Link, the Singapore Tourist Pass[12] offers unlimited travel for tourists to Singapore on Singapore's public transport system. For $8 a day, tourists can take any number of rides on buses and trains operated by SBS Transit, SMRT Buses and SMRT Trains. Certain buses like Night Rider are not applicable. The Singapore Tourist Pass is available at selected MRT stations.

International Transport Links of Singapore

Singapore is well connected to other countries via land, air and sea.


Tuas Second Link

Singapore has two land links to Malaysia. The Causeway, built in the 1920s to connect Johor Bahru (Johor, Malaysia) to Woodlands in Singapore, carries a road and a railway line. The Tuas Second Link, a bridge further west, was completed in 1996 and links Tuas in Singapore to Tanjung Kupang in Johor (Malaysia).

The island rail's terminal at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is linked to the Malaysian rail network KTM across the 1.2 km causeway to Johor Bahru on the Malay Peninsula. It connects with Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.


Keppel Container Terminal in Singapore

There are boats and ferry services to nearby islands of Malaysia and Indonesia. These services can be found at Changi Ferry Terminal, Changi Point Ferry Terminal, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and Singapore Cruise Centre.

The Port of Singapore, run by the port operators PSA International (formerly the Port of Singapore Authority) and Jurong Port, is the world's busiest in terms of shipping tonnage handled. 1.04 billion gross tons were handled in the year 2004, crossing the one billion mark for the first time in Singapore’s maritime history. Singapore also emerged as the top port in terms of cargo tonnage handled with 393 million tonnes of cargo in the same year, beating the Port of Rotterdam for the first time in the process. In 2006, it handled a total of 448 million tonnes of cargo[13].

Singapore is ranked second globally in terms of containerised traffic, with 21.3 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) handled in 2004[14], and is also the world's busiest hub for transshipment traffic. Additionally, Singapore is the world's largest bunkering hub, with 23.6 million tonnes sold in 2004[15].

In 2007, The Port of Singapore is ranked the world's busiest port once again, surpassing Hong Kong and Shanghai.[16] The Port of Singapore is also ranked the Best Seaport in Asia.

Ports and Harbours Data
Port Operator Type Berths Quay length
Quay cranes Area
Capacity (kTEUs)
Brani (BT) PSA International Container 9 31 790,000
Cosco-PSA (CPT) Cosco/PSA International Container 2 720 228,000 >1 million
Jurong JTC Multi-Purpose 23 4,486 1,200,028
Keppel (KT) PSA International Container 14 36 960,000
Pasir Panjang (PPT) PSA International Container 12 49 1,770,000
Pasir Panjang Wharves PSA International General
Sembawang PSA International General
Tanjong Pagar (TPT) PSA International Container 8 27 840,000


Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 at Singapore Changi Airport
Control tower of Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore aims to be Asia's aviation hub chiefly via the promotion of liberal aviation policies in a bid to encourage airlines to commence and maintain operations there. The aviation industry is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, a statutory board of the Singapore government under the Ministry of Transport.

An open skies agreement was concluded with the United Kingdom in October 2007 permitting unrestricted services from Singapore by UK carriers. Singapore carriers were allowed to operate domestic UK services as well as services beyond London Heathrow to a number of destinations, including the United States.[17]


There are currently 5 local scheduled service airlines, all of them operating out of Singapore Changi Airport, offering scheduled flights to over 70 cities on 5 continents. The national flag carrier, Singapore Airlines currently operates out of Changi Airport Terminal 2 and 3. Its subsidiary, SilkAir, operates out of Changi Airport Terminal 2. Singapore's two budget airlines, Jetstar Asia Airways and Valuair, currently operate out of Changi Airport Terminal 1. Only one budget airline, Tiger Airways, has chosen to operate at the Budget Terminal; other budget airlines have cited various reasons for not shifting operations to the Budget terminal, including accessibility and ease of transfers to connecting flights.


Singapore Changi Airport, with its four terminals (including one budget terminal), is one of the most important air hubs in the region. The international airport is situated at the eastern most tip of the main island, and serves 185 cities in 58 countries[18]. With the recent opening of the third terminal, Changi is now capable of handling 64 million passengers every year.

Seletar Airport is Singapore's first civil aviation airport and is primarily used for private aviation today. The airport also serves limited scheduled commercial flights by Berjaya Air to the Malaysian islands of Pulau Tioman and Pulau Redang

Airport and airbase technical data
Airport ICAO IATA Usage Runway Length
Paya Lebar Air Base WSAP QPG Military Paved 12400 3800 m Former civilian
Seletar Airport WSSL XSP Civilian Paved 5300 1615 Mainly non-scheduled flights
Sembawang Air Base WSAG Military Paved 3000 914
Singapore Changi Airport WSSS SIN Civilian Paved 13200 4000
Tengah Air Base WSAT TGA Military Paved 8900 2713



  1. ^ "Road Length In Kilometer". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  2. ^ "Annual Vehicle Statistics 2007 - Car population by CC rating". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  3. ^ "SPEECH BY MR RAYMOND LIM,MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT, AT VISIT TO KALLANG-PAYA LEBAR EXPRESSWAY, 30 JANUARY 2008, 10.15 AM". Singapore Government Media Release. 2008-01-30.  
  4. ^ "Public Transport Ridership". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  5. ^ "Singapore Census of Population 2000". Statistics Singapore. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  6. ^ "Bus transport overview". SBS Transit. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  7. ^ "Annual Report 2007 - SMRT Buses". SMRT Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  8. ^ "Monthly total Bus Ridership". SMRT Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  9. ^ "Rail Length (km) At End-Of-Year". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  10. ^ "Taxi Info for LTA Website 2008". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-06-08.  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "Taxi Info for LTA Website 2008". Land Transport Authority. Retrieved 2008-06-08.  
  12. ^ "The Singapore Tourist Pass". Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  13. ^ "Total Cargo (in '000 tons)". Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Total Container Throughput (in '000 TEUs)". Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 2008-03-26.  
  16. ^ "Singapore remains world's busiest port". Xinhuanet. 2006-01-12.  
  17. ^ "Singapore, UK conclude landmark Open Skies Agreement". 2007-10-03.  
  18. ^ "Air Network". Retrieved 2008-03-26.  

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