New transfer rules for fares will make it cheaper & faster to walk between MRT stations

Or... you could take the bus in the middle of your two train rides.

By Fasiha Nazren | March 22, 2018

With more train lines coming up, MRT and LRT stations will in the future be located much closer to one another… and by that point, actually making it faster for a person to walk between two stations on different, or even in some cases, the same lines.

Just take a look at the latest system map:

via Land Transport Authority

And now, with the implementation of the new public transport fare formula at the end of this year, a new set of transfer rules will kick in that will make this even more attractive — it’ll in future also be cheaper to walk between stations.

Right now, it’s costlier

Why? Because current transfer rules do not factor in transfers between train stations (i.e. you only get transfer savings if you change from train to bus, or bus to train, or bus to bus). So if you were to walk between train stations (i.e. tap out of one and tap in at another) you would incur a second boarding charge.

Here are the current distance fare transfer rules:

  1. All journeys must be completed within two hours of the first vehicle boarded.
  2. You can make a maximum of five transfers in the course of a journey.
  3. Only one single entry and exit is allowed for rail (regardless of whether it’s MRT or LRT) for each journey.
  4. 45 minutes is allowed for transfers between MRT/LRT stations and bus services, and between two separate bus services.
  5. No transfers are allowed between different MRT or LRT stations.
  6. The bus service you transfer to must not be the same as the one you just took.
  7. And, of course, no exiting and re-entering at the same station.

So what will change?

Under the current transfer rules, commuters are only allowed to enter and exit the MRT or LRT once for each journey.

Once the new rules are implemented, commuters can make multiple rail transfers with no additional boarding charges, just as long as they make their way to the second rail station within 15 minutes.

Take a journey from Little India to Bendemeer, for example:

A typical single trip from Little India to Bendemeer (i.e. if you sat all the way) is 7km long, costs S$1.16 and will take you 20 minutes to get from one point to the other.

By alighting midway at Rochor and walking across to Jalan Besar to tap in and ride to Bendemeer, you’ll be able to cut your time to 15 minutes, but will also have to pay an extra 38 cents under the current transfer rules.

However, with the upcoming enhanced transfer rules, the same two-rail trip will save you both your time and money since no additional boarding charges will be incurred. This means your resulting fare as S$0.77 — that’s 50 per cent savings compared to if you were to sit all the way, by the way.

How many stations would I be able to walk between?

For now, there are 18 pairs of stations that are within 15-minute walking distance.

Most of these are located in the central region of Singapore:

via Land Transport Authority

But if that’s too confusing (yeah, it took us some time to connect the dots too), here’s the list of the connected MRT stations.

  1. Bendemeer (DT23) to Boon Keng (NE9): 9 minutes
  2. Little India (NE7/DT12) to Jalan Besar (DT22): 10 minutes
  3. Rochor (DT13) to Jalan Besar (DT22): 5 minutes
  4. Jalan Besar (DT22) to Bugis (EW12/DT14): 9 minutes
  5. Rochor (DT13) to Bencoolen (DT21): 8 minutes
  6. Dhoby Ghaut (NS24/NE6/CC1) to Bencoolen (DT21): 5 minutes
  7. Bencoolen (DT21) to Bras Basah (CC2): 2 minutes
  8. Bras Basah (CC2) to Bugis (EW12/DT14): 10 minutes
  9. Bugis (EW12/DT14) to Esplanade (CC3): 11 minutes
  10. Bras Basah (CC2) to City Hall (EW13/NS25): 7 minutes
  11. Esplanade (CC3) to City Hall (EW13/NS25): 5 minutes
  12. Clarke Quay (NE5) to Raffles Place (EW14/NS26): 10 minutes
  13. Chinatown (NE4/DT19) to Raffles Place (EW14/NS26): 11 minutes
  14. Fort Canning (DT20) to Clarke Quay (NE5): 10 minutes
  15. Telok Ayer (DT18) to Raffles Place (EW14/NS26): 5 minutes
  16. Telok Ayer (DT18)  to Tanjong Pagar (EW15): 8 minutes
  17. Raffles Place (EW14/NS26) to Downtown (DT17): 7 minutes
  18. Downtown (DT17) to Marina Bay (NS27/CE2): 4 minutes

What if I’m too lazy to walk?

You can also take a bus between the two MRT/LRT stations if you wish, and still save on your fare.

For example, if you travel from Marsiling (on the North-South Line) to Bakau (on the Sengkang LRT line) using two rail trips and take a bus ride in between, the total fare under the current transfer rules will be S$2.49 — far more than the S$1.90 you pay if you took the train all the way — even if the train journey is longer and involves three changes of train lines(!).

But with the new transfer rules, travelling by the faster bus-train-bus route will cost 71 cents less, since taking the second train will not incur any boarding charges.

via Public Transport Council

When will this be implemented?

The enhanced transfer rules will be implemented together with the fare adjustments for 2018 Fare Review Exercise, that will happen by the third quarter of 2018.

And here’s more info about that:

Public transport fare formula to be revised from end-2018, explained

Top image via SMRT

About Fasiha Nazren

Fasiha is only afraid of three things - cockroaches, her parents and the deafening screamos of post hardcore bands.

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