Singapore may be small and generally well-connected with public transport, but when you are trying to manage your finances, any recurring expense can quickly culminate into an end-of-the-month stumbling block. We’ve rounded up all the options to reduce travel costs and picked out tips to help make your commute around Singapore a smooth ride!
Our top tip to reduce your travel costs in Singapore: Have the right apps and keep things cashless.
1. Switch between Comfort and Grab
If you fancy an uber comfortable ride (saw what we did there!) to your workplace and shudder at the thought of long taxi lines, or just couldn’t be bothered to walk up to the nearest taxi stand, download the Comfort and Grab apps on your phone.
Here is how the apps help:
- Use Comfort to beat surge: Comfort connects you to seasoned taxi drivers across the city and is the oldest reliable app around. When surge pricing comes into play, the good old Comfort cabs are your best bet to keep costs low.
- Grab gives you the option of getting a standard taxi or JustGrab, which is a cheaper option consisting of both private cars and taxis.
- The Grab promotions have dwindled since Uber merged with Grab. But you can use your Grab points for discounted rides or get vouchers for other merchants in the app. Trade your points for Krisflyer miles if you fancy.
- Grab also offers a GrabShare option, where you may have to share your ride with another commuter heading in roughly the same direction. Fares are slightly cheaper than the JustGrab option, but sometimes the extra time wasted isn’t worth it.
Keep an eye out for: Go-Jek, the Indonesian player that could disrupt Singapore’s local travel industry and bring in services that we have never been exposed to yet. Also, Indian rile-hailing firm, Jugnoo, is likely to enter with its price-bidding system for rides. This is likely to again make prices highly competitive.
2. Join a carpool
Carpooling is not only economical but also the more eco-conscious and responsible way to go if you prefer to use cars.
- Grab Hitch is a non-commercial option provided by Grab, that connects you to other passengers driving their cars and commuting routes that are similar to you and share the cost.
- GrabShuttle for Schools is ideal to manage your kids’ school transport if you have a pool going with your neighbours and other kids in the vicinity. It also cuts travel time significantly.
- Ryder is the newer kid on the block with the focus especially on carpooling. In a way, these apps are easier than the traditional carpools because there is no coordination required. You hit the button just 10 minutes before you are set to go, and it is completely cashless.
Try setting up an HDB/Condominium carpool
If you have celebrated festivals with your neighbours, organised Sunday picnics and got together at the mall, then why not create HDB or condo carpools? This will help save travel costs for many families and be efficient too. Using WhatsApp can easily help co-ordinate timings and locations.
3. Sign up for Travel Smart Rewards
We know they have lost some of their shine, after the recent upgrades, but no harm in making some money while you travel! Plus, there is the lottery under this programme, that gives you an option to walk away with S$1500. Here’s what you would want to know about the programme.
4. Travel on the train before 7.45am
Since the start of this year, starting your journeys before 7.45am at any of our 157 MRT and LRT stations on weekdays will entitle you to up to 50 cents discount on your fares. It’s going to be difficult for some of us to fathom waking up so early, but if you are really keen to save on travel costs, see if you are able to fit in some early morning exercise (or breakfast) near your office to make this work.
5. Ride a bicycle to work instead
Bike-sharing has taken Singapore and many parts of the world by storm, albeit sometimes in an undesirable way. With companies like oBike, ofo and Mobike, you can rent a bike for as little as 50 cents for 30 minutes or single use. In many instances. it is perfect for running chores, or getting some exercise on your way to work.
6. Use credit cards for petrol discounts
The exorbitant cost of owning a car in Singapore puts the island country high up on the list of most expensive cities to live in the world. If using a car is your mode of transport – be it by choice or necessity, your budget is bound to take a significant hit.
You will want to do what you can to reduce your petrol costs. Get familiar with various credit cards offering discounts on petrol expenses and choose the one that suits your routine.
Cards like the BOC Zaobao Card and the Citi Cash Back Card offer hefty cash rebates at Caltex, Esso and Shell petrol stations plus station discounts. Such offers, when combined with station loyalty cards, will go a long way to reduce travel and petrol expenses.
Get a credit card that gives you rebates for public transport spends
This might be new to many of us, but the BOC Qoo10 World Mastercard lets us get 20% rebates on our public transport spends. The rebate is given in Qmoney, and there is a cap of S$40 a month. Read more about this card here.
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