Driving: In order to own a car in Singapore you must purchase a Certificate of Entitlement, or COE, which allows you to drive on the streets. The cost of this permit can vary, but generally ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 US dollars—and that doesn’t even include the cost of owning a car! Between the expense of purchasing or renting a vehicle, maintenance and gas, and the COE, many young professionals opt to rely on taxis and public transportation instead of driving.
Taxis: Although they’re not as easy to spot as New York’s iconic yellow cabs, taxis are all over Singapore! They are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to travel, with a flag-down fare around $3.50, depending on the type of taxi you hail. A ride is cheap by US standards, but be warned that you might pay an additional fee for a late-night ride, or have to pay the cost of tolls if use one of the
highways. A typical ride from the airport to the business district will cost roughly $35.
Walking: Singapore is easy to navigate on foot. There are nice, wide sidewalks, clearly marked pedestrian crossings, and hardly any hills. The only drawback to walking is the weather! The humidity can make a short stroll feel like a full-on workout, or unpredictable bursts of rain will leave drenched without warning. Always carry an umbrella and expect the unexpected!
Public Transportation: Singapore’s public transportation system is one of the most efficient in the world. There are over 300 bus routes around the island, and the Mass Rapid Transit subway system, or MRT, is extremely easy for any newcomer to navigate. There are four main lines: North South, East West, Circle, and Bukit Panjang Lines. The fares are based on the distance you travel; the easiest way to pay for public transit is to purchase a stored value card and deposit money on it. Then, each time you get on a bus or train, you swipe the card instead of worrying about calculating and paying exact fare in cash. Before you get off the bus or leave the MRT station, you simply swipe again, which ends your journey and calculates your fare. Fares are very reasonable— a ride from the airport to the city center will cost you less than $2.
Biking: While many young professionals do own bikes in the city, bicycles are generally used for recreational activities on the weekends like riding around Gardens by the Bay or along the East Coast Parkway. As a means for commuting to and from work they aren’t quite as practical. There are relatively few bike lanes in Singapore, forcing cyclists to compete with pedestrians for space on the sidewalk.