Bus and train (MRT and/or LRT) fares in Singapore are charged according to the total distance travelled in a journey and this is known as the Distance Fares system. It lets you make transfers without paying a charge each time you board a bus or train during a journey.
If you start your journey with a bus ride, then alight at a bus stop to board a different bus service, or even the MRT/LRT, this is considered as making a transfer. The following rules apply when calculating distance-based fares.
A transfer can be from
- the MRT/LRT to a bus service
- the MRT/LRT to another MRT/LRT
- a bus service to another bus service
- a bus service to the MRT/LRT
Under Distance Fares, the rules are
- The maximum duration between the first and last boarding (not alighting) of a bus or train within a journey is two hours.
- A maximum of five transfers can be made within a journey.
- Multiple train transfers are allowed with no additional boarding charges.
- 45 minutes for transfers between train station and bus service, or between different bus services.
- 15 minutes for transfers between different train stations.
- The current bus service must not be the same number as the preceding bus service.
- No exit and re-entry at the same train station.
Train and bus fares can be paid via
- Stored value travel card (ez-link card, NETS FlashPay card, concession card)
- Bank card (e.g. contactless credit/debit card, NETS contactless card, mobile payment apps e.g. Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Singtel Dash)
- Concession Pass
- Singapore Tourist Pass
To enjoy distance-based fares, do I need to tap in and out at MRT interchange stations for my transfer?
If you are transferring trains at the Bukit Panjang, Newton or Tampines MRT interchange stations, you will need to tap out from the particular MRT line that you first took and tap in again at the connecting line to continue your journey.
The transfer must be made within 15 minutes. Transfers made after the 15-minute grace period at the MRT interchange station will be considered a new journey.
If you are travelling from Pasir Ris MRT Station to MacPherson MRT Station, you will first need to tap out at Tampines MRT Station (East-West Line). Then, you should tap in at Tampines MRT Station (Downtown Line) within 15 minutes, before taking the Downtown Line to MacPherson MRT Station.
The following do not qualify as valid transfers:
- A transfer between two MRT stations that takes more than 15 minutes.
- Transfer from a bus to another bus of the same service number, or to/from a subsidiary service (e.g. transfers between Bus Services 98, 98A, 98B).
- Transfer to/from Sentosa Bus, Night Services and Chinatown Direct Services.
- A Bus Concession Pass, Train Concession Pass or Hybrid Concession Pass is used.
- A journey that has more than five transfers.
Examples of scenarios that do not fulfil the transfer rules:
i. Commuter exceeds the 45-minute allowance between transfers
Ms Letchmi took Bus Service 197 and alighted at 7.51am at a bus stop along North Bridge Road. At about 9am, she boarded Bus Service 63 at Victoria Street. When she tapped her card upon boarding, the card reader displayed "New Ride". She was puzzled that her trip on Bus Service 63 was considered a new journey.
The rules of Distance Fares state that the time limit between transfers is 45 minutes. When Ms Letchmi boarded Bus Service 63, she had exceeded the 45-minute allowance between successive transfers. As such, her trip on Bus Service 63 was correctly charged as a new journey.
ii. Commuter exceeds the two-hour maximum duration between the first and last boarding
Mdm Tan boarded her usual Bus Service 131 at Shenton Way at 10.03am and alighted at the bus stop near HarbourFront MRT Station at 10.30am. She then ran a quick errand in the vicinity before taking a train at HarbourFront MRT Station at 11.05am. Her train ride was within the 45-minute allowance between transfers. Thereafter, Mdm Tan alighted at Yew Tee MRT Station, where she subsequently transferred to Bus Service 302 at 12.15pm. Mdm Tan was charged the full fare of $0.71 for her ride on Bus Service 302. She felt that she was overcharged for this leg of her journey as her usual fare was $0.05.
The rules of Distance Fares state that the maximum duration between the first and last boarding (not alighting) of a bus or train within a journey is two hours. By the time Mdm Tan boarded Bus Service 302, it had been more than two hours since she first started her journey on Bus Service 131 at Shenton Way. As such, her trip on Bus Service 302 was considered a new journey, and the $0.71 fare was correctly charged.
iii. Commuter takes the same bus service more than once in a journey
Mr Ali boarded Bus Service 19 and alighted at CIAS Cargo Complex. He later took the same Bus Service 19, and realised he did not get to enjoy the transfer fare for his second bus trip. He felt he had been overcharged.
The rules of Distance Fares state that commuters cannot take the same bus service more than once in a journey. As Mr Ali had taken the same bus service for his second trip, it did not qualify as a valid transfer. Thus, his two trips on Bus Service 19 were considered as two separate journeys.
Yes, the maximum time allowed is 120 minutes. Your stored value travel card will be rejected by the faregate if you exceed this duration. You need to pay an administrative charge of $2 either at the Passenger Service Centre or, if you are at an unmanned LRT station, the General Ticketing Machine or Assisted Service Kiosk in order to exit the faregate.
The time limit also applies to concession card holders with valid concession passes.