A goal of the trip to Singapore was to experience some of the public transport, finding out not only how efficient it was, but also if it was possible to find some good service.
Having tried the airport shuttle on arrival, and being impressed with the overall service provided I was keen to see how the other options compared. In the end they produced a mixed bag of service stories.
The city metro service is a particularly good way of getting around Singapore, it is fast, efficient and it’s possible to visit most areas of the sovereign city. It’s relatively easy to navigate too, especially compared to the London Underground.
I did make a point of asking for directions however, and the attendant was extremely keen to help. He wasn’t actually that sure how to reach my intended destination, but tried really hard to give me some worthwhile advice. I struggled a little to understand him at times, but eventually he did seem to settle on his final decision of a proposed route to my intended destination.
He then directed me to the line I needed, and it became a little like a scene from an Abbot and Costello film; he sent me one side of a barrier, then changed his mind at least four times, before directing me through the closest barrier. I could not help smiling all the way to the train. Bottom line, good service, even if the attendant required a great depth of knowledge, but even so it was impossible to feel anything less than positive from my dealing with this gentleman.
The overall view of the taxis around Singapore was good, they are often talkative, even if sometimes difficult to understand. Their knowledge of the city is of course excellent, and it did seem they generally used this knowledge to get their fares around the city as quickly as possible, keeping the cost minimal.
Actually catching a taxi however is a little more of a challenge, the best option is undoubtedly to have the hotel or bar order a cab. Waiting outside a hotel, or at a pick up point maybe frustrating, taxis don’t always arrive as quickly as wished, and often the drivers will only accept local fares which they can complete within a few minutes. The reason for this is obvious, they feel they can make more from several short fares than one slightly longer one which may take them away from the busiest areas. It is frustrating however when a driver refuses to accept your fare.
My attempt at a bus journey was remarkably rewarding. I asked a driver which bus would take me to Chinatown, he gave me a lift to a suitable stop, informing me which bus to take. That my not sound that helpful, but it was a good kilometre or more and he did not charge me, even though I did offer. The driver that took me to Chinatown did charge a fare, but ensured I disembarked at the right place.
Overall, my experience of public transport was a pleasant, easy and generally rewarding one. It is easy to get around Singapore, using any of the main transport options is simple enough, they are efficient, and the maps aren’t confusing. There are the usual open-topped tour buses too, which are always a good option for seeing the sights of any city.