Not every travel budget tip is about big savings – there are those where advantage outweighs effort – adding up to a few extra dollars, like this trick you can use on the Singapore metro.
Hold On To These Tickets
Singapore’s Mass Rail Transit (MRT) makes it pretty easy to get around to most places in the city-state, with a few convenient fare options for travelers. The Singapore Tourist Pass gives you unlimited bus and rail rides for 1, 2, or 3 days with rates of 20, 26, or 30 Singapore dollars (SGD). (Approximately $16, $20, $24 US dollars.) Those are pretty good prices considering you can zip around town limitless to places like Gardens By The Bay; whereas a standard one-way MRT ticket will run you about $2 SGD (~$1.60 USD).
You can purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass online for pickup at one of several MRT stations throughout the city-state. Standard tickets (aka. single fare) are available from General Ticketing Machines (GTM) found at all subway stations. These are all reasonable amounts to pay for public transportation but if you hold on to your metro cards, you can sweeten the deal further.
Return Your Rail Cards For Refunds
Whether you’ve got a Singapore Tourist Pass or standard ticket, returning them properly can get you nearly half your fare refunded. All you have to do is go back to one of these TransitLink Offices within 6 days of first issue for the Singapore Tourist Pass and return the card to get $10 SGD back. That is basically a deposit incorporated into the original fare you can claim after you’re done traveling around Singapore.
The same goes for a standard ticket, except that you’ll need to go to one of the GTM machines and select the return card option via the touchscreen. You’ll get back $1 SGD for giving back the flimsy plastic card – or about half the fare you originally paid.
You Catch On Quickly
For many of us who’ve been to other cities where rail cards are trash after use, old habits might keep you from taking advantage of these savings the first few rides before eventually catching on. Obviously any savings from returning metro cards isn’t going to eliminate hidden traveler debt you might be carrying but it might get you a few extra beers at Newton Circus Food Centre. Just remember not to snack on any of the trains where nibbling can cost you expensive fines, so make sure to brush up on these 5 laws every traveler to Singapore should know.
Yep, I know this green card 🙂
Brings back a lot of good memories 🙂
That green Standard Ticket hasn’t actually been in use for most of this year. Not sure when they changed it (quick internet search says last year), but they’ve switched it to these paper tickets that are reusable for up to six trips (which means that after the initial purchase and usage, you can top it up and use it an additional 5 times). The deposit has been reduced to 10 cents, which gets refunded (not sure how as I’ve never used it that much) after the 3rd trip. The 6th usage gives you a 10-cent discount on the fare. (Yeah, the “savings” is more complicated, but at least now, if you forget to return the standard ticket or throw it away, you only lose 10 cents instead of $1.)
Thanks for the clarification Ren, I sat on this post too long after my trip!
Excellent tip. Whilst I did know this from previous experience I was kicking myself after my last trip to Singapore when I forgot to do this.
Next time! Although the savings are a bit smaller now.