Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Crossing an entire country for less than $2 is possible in Singapore!

Having a public transport from one side of the country to the other is the dream of any country of the planet. Only Singapore a city-state can actually do it.

There is currently only three lines to ventilate the 4.5 millions inhabitant of Singapore, but the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) is well define and pretty functional. The island is equipped with a North-South line, East-West Line and finally a North-East line. Three more lines are in construction, and will be rolling out in phase, with 2008 as a first step.

Downtown is usually air conditioned, and underground, as opposed at outside downtown where the MRT lines stand in middle of the highways and at 20-30 meters high, circulating between buildings.

The MRT tram itself is modern and very spacious, except during rush hour, where the civilized world has been checkout the station. People push you, squeeze the line, jump on you, actually run for a seat and complain when you are not moving fast enough.

The price is dynamic and depends on when you use the MRT, for how long and how tall you are. I explain myself. If you ride the MRT during pick hours, the ride price will be higher. If you ride the MRT over a long distance, the ride price will be higher. If you are lower than 0.9 meter and less than 10 years old, the ride is free. There is a red line in front of each booth to measure your height for a checking procedure.

The best way to deal with the ever changing ride price is to buy an EZ-Link pass. It’s an electronic wallet in which you put money in advance and used as you go. An entry booth validate and record when you check-in, and another one charge you on the spot when you check-out. If you forget to check in or out an alarm kicks in and the responsible of the station helps you to fix the issue.

Don’t ever thing you can bypass the charging process because you are constantly on camera and I am sure that the broadcasting is probably done real time live to the nearest hospital for the brain removal surgery on the third attempts to jump the fair.

It’s a very nice, efficient and simple yet random charm and character transportation system. In another words, MRT resembles its city. I would not imagine Singapore without it, just do not use it during rush hours.