New in town? Learning how to navigate Singapore with babies or kids in tow? We've got all the deets on the island's public transport options.
If you’re new to Singapore, first off – welcome! It’s a wonderful place to raise kids, and we love its cultural diversity, amazing food and wonderful things to do with the family. Fingers crossed you’ve adjusted to the tropical climate (hello, frizz) and the constant sweatiness! Other decisions to tackle? Whether to buy or lease a car, send the kids to local or international school, and finding the best kid-friendly restaurant! (Bonus points for kids eat free deals!) But how to get to all the amazing sights in the meantime? Public transport. Luckily, getting around Singapore is super simple, and heading from A to B with kids via bus, MRT or taxi needn’t be er, taxing. We’ve put our parental experience to good use to give you the complete rookie’s guide to Singapore public transport…
Singapore public transport options for families
Rule #1: Buy an EZ-Link card
First things first: make taking public transport in Singapore nice and easy on yourself by getting an EZ Link card. It means you won’t have to scramble in your pockets for loose change when taking the Singapore buses and MRT. Simply tap on and tap off – simple! Plus, hello auto top-up. Pick one up from:
- Passenger service centres within most MRT stations
- TransitLink Ticket Offices
- Concession Card Replacement Offices
- 7-Eleven stores
Buy from a station, and an EZ Link card will cost you $12 ($5 for the card and $7 credit). Bought from a 7-Eleven, you’ll pay $10 ($5 for the card and $5 credit).
Kids aged below seven years get free travel by applying for a Child Concession Card.
Need to top up? Download the app on your phone so you can set up EZ-Reload (auto top-up) and keep an eye on your spending. You can also put more credit on your card when you need to at 7-Eleven and Cheers stores, at MRT stations and bus terminals, plus DBS/POSB ATM machines.
1. MRT (Mass Rapid Transport)
High praise for the Singapore MRT! With more than 130 stations and lots more planning in the pipeline, taking the train with kids is affordable, easy, fast and safe. It’s one of our favoured modes of Singapore public transport because so many parts of the island are accessible. Fancy going on a pram-friendly walk? The stations have been designed to be stroller- and wheelchair-friendly, plus the trains themselves are nice and spacious. Top marks all around!
Did you know you used to have to collapse your stroller when boarding a bus in Singapore?! Eugh! Luckily that move has been scrapped, making it much easier to transport bub around the Little Red Dot on your mum adventures. If you DO have a pram, the drivers will let you embark through the rear doors (just remember to tap your EZ-Link card when you have a spare hand). Plan your route using Google Maps or the SG Buses app on your phone. Buses are frequent (a saviour in this heat!), and some routes are even great for some cheap, makeshift sightseeing adventures, too! Ah, the perks of Singapore public transport. Psst… don’t forget to tap off with your EZ-Link card when you get off the bus so you don’t get charged extra.
Taxis in Singapore are refreshingly affordable! But the most important thing to consider when travelling by taxi with kids in Singapore? Safety. While children riding in cars in Singapore must be secured with a child restraint that’s appropriate for their height and weight, surprisingly taxis are exempt from child restraint laws. Make sure you swot up on a car seat that’s right for you and your child. We highly recommend Taxi Baby as the experts in all things safety.
We find the ComfortDelGro app simple and fast to use when you need to book a taxi. Psst: premium taxis often have a higher mandatory booking fee, so check the prices (which will be displayed on a sticker on the car window) before you hop in… Also, don’t forget to head to the taxi rank rather than hailing a car off the street. Be prepared for long queues if it’s raining!
4. Ride-sharing apps in Singapore
While Singapore public transport is a great option for getting around town, sometimes you can’t beat being picked up by a car. Especially in Singapore’s frequent wet weather! While rides using Grab and GoJek – the most popular and widely used ride-share apps in Singapore – are cheap and easy, they are classified as private cars. Meaning they’re not exempt from car seat regulations and you must use proper child restraints. Bottom line: you WILL be refused a ride if you try and wing it without any safety restraints.
The good news?
Grab launched GrabFamily a couple of years back for customers with children aged between one and seven years old. If you are travelling with a child aged between one and three and they are below one metre in height, choose GrabFamily (Ages 1-3). If you are travelling with a child between four and seven years old and between 1–1.35 metres, choose GrabFamily (Ages 4-7) for a 4-seater vehicle or GrabFamily 6 (Ages 4-7) for a 6-seater vehicle.
Top image: Ivan Yeo via Unsplash
And that’s it! All you need to know about Singapore public transport. Now go have fun!