Transport Hacks: How to Save Money on Buses, MRTs, Cabs & More!
Public Transportations is everyone’s best friend of Singaporeans whether you are a commuter or not we are all using the these to make our daily life easier and convenient. Not all Singaporeans can afford owning a private vehicle. Scroll down this article to find out how you can save your money in public transportations.
10 Ways to Save Public Transport in Singapore
Singaporeans complain about MRT breakdowns all the time, however the fact is that we’re a lucky bunch. Objectively speaking, the Singapore public transport device is fairly efficient. Try taking the BTS in Bangkok and you’ll have a newfound understanding for SMRT.
It’s additionally enormously affordable. (Not that this is going to quit us from grumbling about how often we have to pinnacle up our EZ-Link cards, of course.) That said, there are a few approaches you can shave both time or cash off your commute:
Tap into the MRT before 7:45 am
Taking the train during morning pre-peak hours used to be free, but even though that policy has been scrapped, you can still benefit from rising early.
From 29 Dec 2017, tapping in before 7.45am will earn you $0.50 off your MRT fares. If your ride costs under $0.50, it’s free! The plan has proven to be successful. There has been a reduction of 7% to 8% in number of passengers on MRT trains during the morning peak period, and the government is happy to extend the plan for another year until June 30, 2016.
Even if you pay 50¢ less each morning, you save at least $10 on your transport cost in a month (based on 20 work days in a month), and can save up to $120 in a year!
Drive Off-peak Cars
If you want to buy a car, consider registering your car under the Revised Off-Peak Car (ROPC) Scheme (You can also convert your normal car scheme to the ROPC Scheme).
You will enjoy great benefits if you register your car under the ROPC Scheme. You will get up to $17,000 rebate, which can be used to offset the Quota Premium for a COE and the Additional Registration Fee.
You will also receive up to $500 discount on annual road taxes, if you pay a minimum road tax of $70 per year. You can take public transport to your office on weekdays, and drive your family out on weekend and public holidays. So you don't have to worry about traffic jams during rush hours, and you can save quite some money by avoiding higher ERP rates and parking fees.
If you really need to drive outside of those restricted hours, you can buy an electronic Day Licence for $20, which is valid for a day.
Use Credit Cards That Help You Save on Petrol
Don't pay cash or use your ATM card to pay for your petrol purchases! There are a number of credit cards that can help you save a lot of money on petrol.
For example, Citi Cash Back Card gives you up to 20.88% savings at Esso and 20.8% savings at Shell petrol stations, and up to 8% cashback at all other petrol stations.
Use Cashback Credit Cards to Save Money on Train Fares
For regular commuters, using EZ-Link cards might be a simple way to save money. It's easy to carry around and it helps you save a little bit money on each trip compared with paying fares with cash.
But some credit cards can help you save more! For example, you can use FRANK Credit Card as a transport card. Unlike the EZ-Link card, which requires you to top up after the stored value is depleted, the first time you tap FRANK Credit Card at an MRT station or on a bus, $50 is automatically charged to the card. If you try to use this card to pay after that $50 of EZ-Link credit has run out, another $50 will automatically be charged. So you never need to worry about running out of credit.
But the best part is that you will earn a 3% rebate on your first 2 auto top-ups every month! If you spend $100 on public transport monthly, you could save $3 (3% rebate on $100 worth of top ups) each month.
Ride a Bike
If you don't want to pay that huge amount of money for COE, or you are worried about another breakdown of MRT, you can ride a bicycle to travel around. It's environmentally friendly; it helps keep you healthy, and it helps you save money.
Singaporeans may not be as friendly as the Dutch when we encounter cyclists on the road. But we do have our extensive Park Connector Network that has made cycling fun! Singapore has developed over 200km of park connectors around the island, so you have plenty of routes to choose from.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority is also calling for ideas to develop the Kallang Park Connector, a long route that links Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Kallang Riverside Park, to a commuter cycling route. Maybe one day it will be normal for Singaporeans to ride bicycles to work!
Get a Public Transport Concession Card (Maybe)
For most people, the Adult Monthly Travel Card (AMTC) is not worth it. At $120 per month, you’ll need to travel A LOT to actually benefit from it. For example, if you live in Jurong and travel to Expo from Monday to Friday for work, you’ll only spend $83.16 ($1.89 per trip, 2x a day for about 22 days) per month. And how many of us actually do cross-country commutes daily?
This concession card is probably only useful for those whose jobs require them to travel a lot, like property agents, for instance. If you’re not sure how much you typically spend, you can try to calculate it with the MRT fare calculator and bus fare calculator.
Download the EZ-Link Rewards App
Did you even know that you can earn EZ-Link Rewards? Sadly, this scheme isn’t the most enticing…
Basically you link your EZ-Link card to the EZ-Link Rewards app and earn 1 point for every $0.10 spent. I am not a fan because the rewards are mostly vouchers and, uhm, other EZ-Link products. I don’t want to spend more money and I certainly don’t need more EZ-Link cards.
However, it’s actually quite worth it if you’re a Circles.Life User. There’s a current Circles.Life promotion where you can earn mobile data by taking public transport.
Try Bus-Pooling Apps Like Beeline or GrabShuttle
If you’d like to save time by NOT taking public transport, there are a few car- and bus-pooling options for you to try.
GrabShuttle is like an “adult school bus” – you request for a route on the app, and if there are enough people going the same way, you can book a seat for your daily commute to work.
Beeline, Seats and ShareTransport.sg work the same way. All 3 bus-pooling services have quite competitive prices of $3.50 to $5 per trip on average. It’s definitely more expensive than taking the public bus and train, but it could potentially save you a lot of time if your route requires lots of train and bus changes.
WINK+ is a rewards app by SMRT that allows you to accumulate WINK+ points via two methods. Firstly, the simple act of tapping in and tapping out of MRT stations adds points to your WINK+ account. Secondly, you can scan a QR code at MRT stations using the WINK+ app.
Some people have tried to game the system by taking photos of the QR codes and scanning them at home to get the points. This does not work as the QR codes are location-based. If the system detects that you are not scanning the codes at the proper locations, your account would likely be suspended.
After accumulating WINK+ points the legitimate way, the points can be used to redeem e-vouchers. These e-vouchers can in turn be used at various participating food & beverage and shopping outlets.
However, a caveat is that it takes a long time to collect a significant amount of WINK+. This is because each tap/scan merely gives you approximately 1 point. 50 points amounts to 1 WINK+, which is in turn worth $0.50.
Using simple arithmetic, you can see that relying on the WINK+ app alone is not going present much cost savings. Neither is it the best way of getting rewards. Nevertheless, it is one way of getting some exercise while earning rebates on your fares. Thus, you can still consider downloading the WINK+ app and using it.
Travel Smart Reward Scheme
To further encourage commuters to travel during non-peak hours on weekdays, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has introduced the Travel Smart Rewards (TSR) programme. Under this initiative, LTA tracks your daily travel patterns and recommend a customised travel plan for you. Through this, LTA seeks to spread out peak hour traffic and help reduce congestion at the MRTs.
How will does LTA come up with your individual travel plan?
Upon signing up for the TSR, LTA will begin tracking the day, time and station locations of your trips. Then, if you are deemed to be contribute to the congestion at the MRTs, you will receive messages to shift your tap-in timings earlier or later.
Advice to Keep in MIND!
There are a range of ways to decrease your MRT SG fare. Through these methods, you can probably get cashback, concessions or even rewards. While you may solely keep a little each trip, these numbers add up. In fact, a $0.50 saving on your MRT SG fare every weekday can permit you to retailer $50 after just a hundred days of MRT rides. The quantity of feasible financial savings can be significant. Hence, to reduce your MRT fares, you ought to be conscious of the picks reachable and make use of them where applicable.