April 23

4 hacks for how to save on transport in Singapore (2023)


Yes, we know, that fare increase has hit everyone hard.

And whilst the government has given $30 Public Transport Vouchers, we all know… it’s limited to a very select few.

If you’re a everyday person looking to save money on transport, here’s some ways you may never have thought of.

Stop lending money to EZ Link and start using your credit card

Whenever you pre-top up your EZ Link card, you’re effectively lending money to EZ Link. Why do that when you can use your credit card or debit card? When you do that, you improve your liquidity and allow yourself not to be tied down by topping up $50.

And why do you want to waste time topping up, queuing up, when you can just tap and go?

I know. Some of you might say,

but I want a better idea of how much I’m spending on each trip.

Or I want to have an idea of how much I spend each month.

Come on. You can do that with your debit or credit card too.

With credit cards such as Trust, they will collate your transport expenses, allowing you to see.

You might think that talking about liquidity is a joke, especially when you are only perhaps spending $100 a month on transport.

But that liquidity is important so that you can use that locked-up cash for other things, like investments.

That’s why my recommendation is that you use a credit card, so that even whilst you might spend on transport, you only need to pay a month later.

It is a fine line to cut, especially in thinking about bigger ticket expenses like homes. But as long as you know you can cover the amount, it will be worth it.

Use the UOB One Debit card for no questions asked, 3% rebates

Don’t look at the sorry amount in my UOB account.

But look at the rebate that’s credited.

UOB One’s Debit Card continues to be the best, debit card to use for your travels, if you’re still feeling iffy about credit card spend.

There’s no minimum spend required as well.

The cashback is like a discount.
The cashback is like a discount.

This means that you get an automatic 3% discount off your transport costs.

For the rest of the cards we’ve studied, there have always been a minimum spend required.

You might think a minimum spend of $500 is little, but to be honest, if you’re mostly like me, eating at home, buying groceries, and hardly spending outside, that $500 a month can be quite tough to hit.

And you never want to be in a place where you need to spend, just to get a few dollars of cashback.

Tap in before 745am for the $0.50 discount? Nah, go back to sleep.

Some writers have talked about how you should wake up earlier so that you can get a $0.50 discount. Seriously? Is that extra half hour of sleep worth just 50 cents?


It’s not.

Why do you want to force yourself out of bed at 7am, to stand under a pouring shower, just so that you can get enough sleep out of your eyes to hit the MRT station?

Just for the 50 cents?

There’s a better way.

Optimise for sitting, rather than standing and squeezing

You wouldn’t want to get on the same train with me, especially if it’s a Monday morning at 823am.

If you shove me, I will elbow you back.

And if you touch your heart, you know that you want to do that too, especially with the sleep barely coming off your body, Zara Larsson’s hits still not waking you up, and worse still, you can’t sit down.

That’s probably the worst part of the journey to stand through. Where you are stuck deep in human traffic, and you’re watching the hordes go by.

Come on.

Why not take the bus?

Take these buses if you live in the North East

As part of the Land Transport Authority’s desire to distribute human traffic, they came up with this (honestly brilliant) idea to give people a cash incentive for taking the bus.

If you hop onto these buses between 7 to 9am, you get up to $1.50 per trip!

You can find out more here.

Let’s take two example journeys.

For example, if you lived in Punggol, and worked in the East, you can take 43e, an express bus journey.

Alternatively, if you work in CBD, you can take the direct city bus.

$1.50 discount too! This is just too good to miss.
$1.50 discount too! This is just too good to miss.

Honestly, this is a much better experience.

You can pull out your laptop, listen to your favourite tune, or just take a nap.

Why go squeeze with others?

But if you don’t live in the Northeast, then take the bus

Often people tell me they like the train because it’s more reliable, and naturally faster. On the roads, you never really know.

And yes, I get that.

But a key consideration people seem to forget is that things can be faster, but they may be hugely uncomfortable.

Taking the train is like paying for a (super) economy ticket.

You only get to stand on the train, and you get shoved around, and worse still, you get the nasty tsk-ing.

Yes, let’s not talk about the number of times you want to slap the person who does that, but okay, we are loving people.

You get a chauffeur on the bus

If you didn’t know, most trains are driverless.

On the bus, you get legroom, you get aircon, and you get a nice journey.

And sure, we love technology, but human drivers can sometimes make the journey a little more fun, by having someone to talk to.

That’s if you want someone to talk to.

Yes, the train journey is much faster, but the bus gives you unbelievable legroom and comfort, and you get a chauffeur.
Yes, the train journey is much faster, but the bus gives you unbelievable legroom and comfort, and you get a chauffeur.

You don’t have to walk the nasty interchanges, up and down the escalators, and all you need to do is get on the bus, tap, and get off.

Aren’t you sold already?

Here’s a comparison.

  Bus Train
Time needed to travel Perhaps 30 minutes more Naturally faster
Walking More likely to be point to point You probably need to walk between train interchanges (changing across lines), and walk to your office
Cost Might be cheaper if you’re on the Travel Smart Journeys scheme Slight 50 cents discount if you travel before 745am

Don’t just save money, but give yourself some comfort on the journey too.



You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get in touch

0 of 350