Public transport fares in Singapore have gone up by 7%, and for obvious reasons, nobody is pleased. Each journey is going to cost 10 to 11 cents more from 23 December 2023.
The local news media insists that the 7% hike is still well below the maximum allowable hike of 22.6%, but we’re not buying that. In a time when everyone is struggling with inflation, this fare increase is as welcome as another GST hike.
The average Singaporean spent 1.7% of their monthly income on public transport in 2022, according to the Public Transport Council, while lower-income households in the 11th to 20th percentile spent about 2.4%. That doesn’t sound like much, but when added to all the other rising expenses we’re facing, this is still bad news.
So, what can Singaporeans do? Tighten our belts once again, that’s what.
Here are a few ways you can save money on your commute:
1. Take the MRT before 7:45am
They say the early bird catches the worm. Here’s one such incentive for early risers: Tapping into the MRT before 7.45am will earn you $0.50 off your MRT fares.
Of course, the cheapest way to commute to work is to work from home, if your employer allows that. But if you need to be at work, and your job allows for flexible working hours, then you might as well start and end your day earlier.
If you’re consistent in being early, the savings do add up. Assuming 22 working days a month, you’d be saving $11 a month — enough to pay for a couple of meals in Singapore.
2. Tap in & out within 45 minutes
If you’ve got a quick errand to run, you can make the round trip count as one journey by tapping in and out within 45 minutes.
This only applies to bus/rail transfers. You can’t use this trick to enter and exit at the same MRT station. For example, you can take the MRT from Bishan to Serangoon, buy whatever you need from Nex, then transfer to bus 53 to go back to Bishan (within 45 minutes of tapping out at Serangoon MRT).
You can also make multiple MRT transfers without incurring additional charges if you tap in and out within 15 minutes. Use this trick for transferring between MRT lines to save time.
3. Earn credit card rebates with SimplyGo
With the introduction of SimplyGo in April 2019, you can now completely bypass the EZ-Link card, and use your credit card to pay for public transport.
There are quite few credit cards that can earn you some pretty neat rebates on public transport. We won’t go into the full list here, but these are the 2 more popular credit cards for public transport:
Online & Visa Contactless Spend
DBS Live Fresh Card
Get S$150 Cashback when you apply with promo code 150CASH and make the min. spend of S$800 within 60 days of card approval. T&Cs apply.
Valid until 31 Jan 2024
Cash Back Features
Base cashback rate: 0.3% on all spend with no minimum spend
Enjoy up to 5% cashback on online transactions and Visa contactless transactions with S$600 minimum spend per calendar month
Additional 5% Green Cashback on selected Eco-Eateries, Retailers and Transport services
Minimum spend terms: Eligible transactions include retail, recurring bill payments, and refunds in both local and foreign currency that’s charged to your DBS Live Fresh Card per calendar month. General exclusions such as instalments, cash advances, and bill payments via internet banking applies
Cashback terms and conditions: Cashback capped at S$75 per calendar month, which is further broken down into $20 on Online Spend, S$20 for Visa Contactless Spend, S$20 for all Other Spend and an additional S$15 on Sustainable Spend
Cashback awarded will be automatically credited and will show up on your monthly bank statement
While both credit cards offer high rebates (5% or 8%) on your bus and MRT rides, note that you need to spend at least $600 (DBS Live Fresh) or $800 (Maybank Family & Friends) a month to earn them.
If you’re not very keen on having to hit a minimum spend, use one of these fuss-free cashback cards to earn 1.5% or more off your transport spending.
Faster Gift Redemption
Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard®
Get an Sony WH1000-XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (worth S$575) OR a Nintendo Switch OLED Gaming Console (worth S$549) OR a S$450 Amazon SG Gift Card OR S$300 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend a min. of S$500 in "Qualifying Spends" within 30 days from card approval date. T&Cs apply
Valid until 15 Oct 2023
Cash Back Features
Flat 1.6% cashback on all your purchases, no minimum spend
No caps on the cashback you can earn, and cashback earned does not expire
Cashback earned will be stored and specified in the monthly statement
Redeem your cashback with the Citi Pay with Points feature via Citibank Online or the Citi Mobile App or SMS. Redemption requires 7 working days before it’s reflected on your statement
General exclusions apply, for e.g. annual fees, instalments, bills, payments to educational, governmental, and financial institutions, insurance premiums, and more
With Citi PayAll, you can earn and accumulate Citi Miles, Citi ThankYou PointsSM or Cash Back quickly when you pay your big-ticket bills such as rent, insurance premiums, education expenses, taxes, utilities and more
4. Prefer EZ-Link? Use the Citibank SMRT Card
You may prefer to stick to the tried-and-true EZ-Link for bus and MRT rides. Well, there’s a credit card for that too: the Citibank SMRT Card.
No Minimum Spend for Cashback
Citibank SMRT Card
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The Citi SMRT Card is one of the best for public transport — it doubles up as an EZ-Link card that can auto-reload. By doing this, you can earn 5% rebates on your public transport spending provided you meet the minimum spend of $500 a month.
It also rewards you for groceries and online spending, so consolidating your expenses on this card shouldn’t be too difficult.
5. Get a public transport concession card (maybe)
I’ll just put it out there: Singaporeans and PRs can get an Adult Concession Card that costs $128 for one month’s worth of unlimited bus and MRT rides.
You’ll need to travel A LOT to actually benefit from it so it’s probably not worth it for most people, unless you have a daily cross-country commute.
Not sure how much you spend on public transport in a given month? You can calculate your fares with the MRT fare calculator and bus fare calculator to see if the concession card is worthwhile.
Note that there’s also a one-time fee of $8.10 (includes $5 card cost and $3.10 personalisation fee) if you’re getting this travel pass for the first time.
6. Take advantage of the Travel Smart Journey scheme
The Travel Smart Journey (TSJ) scheme is applicable to those who take the North East Line to work.
Since the NEL is packed like sardines in the morning, the TSJ is trying to get commuters on this route to switch to taking the bus.
As a reward, you’ll earn $1.50 worth of SimplyGo points per trip, which can later be redeemed for transport vouchers.
If you start your weekday commute between 7am to 9am at Punggol, Sengkang, Buangkok or Hougang, you can earn your $1.50 per trip by switching to bus services 43e, 654, 660, 666, 671 or 672. You need to do this for at least four weekdays in 30 days to qualify.
7. Cycle or use a PMD
Fed up with ever-increasing public transport fares and want to reduce your reliance on public transport altogether?
Then take advantage of the expanded cycling path and park connector network to cycle as much as possible, whether to get the groceries, commute to work or hit your favourite leisure spots.
If cycling sounds like too much work, you can also look into alternative forms of transportation or Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) like electric scooters. Just be aware that PMDs are not allowed on footpaths and need to be registered with the LTA.
8. Earn Ez-link rewards
If you’re paying your fares using vanilla Ez-Link, you’re missing out on some of the advantages we mentioned earlier, so the least you can do is to sign up for the Ez-Link rewards programme.
It lets you earn 1 point for every $0.10 spent using the Ez-link mobile app. The programme rewards you not only for transport fares, but also any other payments made through Ez-Link, Ez-Link charms, Ez-Link Wallet and Ez-Link Pay by Wallet with Mastercard. These include SMRT and TransCab taxis, certain convenience stores like 7-11 and Cheers, and certain eateries like Koufu and KFC.
Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the world’s most attractive rewards programme, but it’s better than nothing and can save you a few bucks here and there on certain purchases.
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The post Singapore Transport Fare to Rise By Up To 11 Cents—8 Tips to Save Money on Bus & MRT Fares appeared first on the MoneySmart blog.
The post Singapore Transport Fare to Rise By Up To 11 Cents—8 Tips to Save Money on Bus & MRT Fares appeared first on MoneySmart Blog.
Original article: Singapore Transport Fare to Rise By Up To 11 Cents—8 Tips to Save Money on Bus & MRT Fares.
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