The Beauty of Singapore’s Subway System

My first time using the metro system in Singapore, which is called the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), was quite an embarrassing one. After getting off the train, I decided to position myself on the right side of the escalator in order to take a break and browse on my phone (you know… because I’m a millennial). Within seconds, I realized my mistake as I started to receive judging stares from people around me – the flow of traffic for escalators in Singapore runs opposite to that of the States. I quickly changed my position to the left of the escalator and instantly, the people who were behind me started to rush up the escalator. Because of this mistake, I learned the most important lesson: in the States, slower traffic pulls to the right, but in Singapore, it is to the left.

Besides that hiccup, the MRT here has been nothing short of amazing. I use the subway system here a lot in order to commute to my internship every day, and after three weeks of using the MRT, I can see why people call it one of the best subway systems in the world. I can’t even describe how much I love using the MRT here as it is so easy to use and so affordable compared to public transportation in the States. So here’s a list of the top five reasons why I absolutely adore the MRT.

It is so affordable.

  • A trip from my dorm to work, which is around 6 miles, only costs $1.80 SGD (about $1.30 USD). A trip from the east side to west side of Singapore only costs around $2.50 SGD (about $1.80 USD) as well. Yes, let that sink in. I can’t believe it either.

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It is so clean.

  • Singapore is known for being clean, and the same holds true for the MRT too. There are signs everywhere that tell you what to do and what not to do (no chewing gum, no durian, no smoking, and many more). Throughout my time here, I have not seen a piece of trash on the MRT trains. Furthermore, there’s just something about how shiny the seats are and how spacious the trains look that make the MRT system here feel so clean.


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It is so organized.

  • One of my favorite things about the MRT is that there are signs everywhere to let you know what to do and where you are. Inside the trains, there are signs under every door with LED lights that let you know where you are and where the train is going. That is so convenient because instead of having to look outside after every stop, you can just look at the sign to know where you are.
  • Furthermore, the lines are very organized due to many arrows and signs. Outside the trains, there are arrows that tell you where you should wait in order to let the people from inside the train go out first. I think this is such an easy but efficient way of making queues more organized, and I am actually very surprised to see a lot of people following it.
  • Furthermore, its efficient design (little seating and more hand rails) allows more people to be on the train. The ride is so smooth and fast that it is really not a big deal to stand.


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It is so efficient.

  • In the States, I go to school in the bay area, so I used BART a lot. Whenever I miss a BART train, the next one usually comes 15 minutes later. However, that is not true for the MRT. Trains usually come every three minutes, on average. Even during nighttime, it comes every eight minutes at the latest which makes is so convenient for me to use the MRT because I don’t have to worry about missing a train.

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It has such a cute card!

  • I don’t know about you, but I love kawaii stuff and the EZ link card design definitely delivers. The EZ link card is a stored value card that can be used for the MRT and buses in Singapore. The card is so easy to use as you just need to tap it onto the scanning machine, and it completes the transaction within less than a second. As a result, you can avoid the hassle of carrying change to use the subway system. Furthermore, the EZ link card can be used to pay for laundry in student housing and printing in the library. But the most important part is that it comes with various cute designs that feature super adorable cartoon characters.


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Filed under East Asia, Tan in Singapore

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