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Easy, Breezy, Families Ride Easy! A Family Guide to a fuss-free commute

Posted on | 29 Jul 2022

Hero Image of parents with kids near priority lift

Need to brave the public transport system with your entire brood in tow? Here’s how you can smoothen your ride.

Can you bring a stroller on the bus? And do children need to pay to take the train? What about on taxi or private hire cars? These are just a few of the questions you might have when navigating Singapore’s public transport system with your children.

Let’s get those questions answered and pick up some tips to make the journey a smoother one!

#1 Look out for family-friendly facilities

We know, you’ve asked a million times if your child wants to go to the bathroom before leaving and they adamantly said no. But now you’re out of the house, children suddenly have an overwhelming urge to use the loo…

Graphic of mother and daughter washing hands

Don’t fret! Since 2020, all new bus interchanges have been fitted with family-friendly facilities like child-friendly wash basins to make it easier for the little ones to use. These family-friendly toilets will be also available along all stations on the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and Circle Line 6, so going to the toilet while navigating public transport will be much easier and far more worry-free for the family.

There’s also good news for those travelling with babies: Interchanges like Caldecott and Marina Bay stations, as well as integrated transport hubs like those at Bukit Panjang, Outram, Sengkang, Shenton Way and Tampines are fitted with standalone baby care rooms with diaper changing amenities!

#2 Use priority queues

Did you know? Parents with strollers are encouraged to use priority queues at both MRT stations and bus interchanges.

Image of priority signs on platform screen doors and floor
Image of commuters leaving train

There’s no need to worry about how you’re going to navigate through the maze of people to squeeze your stroller in. Look out for the signs at bus interchanges, and stickers on the MRT platform screen doors, for where you could wait.

Also, if you’re hoping to grab a seat for your journey, here’s a tip: The first and last carriages of each train are usually the least crowded!

Fun Fact: When Taking Public Transport
Did you know image featuring information on Caring Commuters

Visit the Champion’s e-learning website for more!

Since around 2017, we’ve developed two generations of Priority Use signs in MRT stations to provide enhanced user-friendly navigation for commuters in need. The latest design which you’ll find around the stations these days—located at wide fare gates, lifts, Platform Screen Doors and as large directional signages to point commuters to lifts—was revamped since 2020.

Keep a look out for them the next time you’re travelling with your little ones in tow!

Image of before and after photos of priority signs used on public transport
#3 Get your child a concession card and opt to use SimplyGo when tapping into the gantry!

Children ride for free, no questions asked—if they are below the height of 0.9m and accompanied by a fare-paying adult. If your child is between 0.9m and 1.2m tall, they can qualify for free rides as long as they are (i) below seven years old; and (ii) not studying in a primary school yet. Simply pick up a Child Concession Card to prove it or pay the full student fare.

Applying for a Child Concession card is free and you can swing by a TransitLink Ticket Office the next time you’re at one of these MRT stations!

What’s more, opt for a quick and contactless payment method through the faregates by using SimplyGo with your credit, debit or ATM card or mobile wallet (just picture a quick turn of your wrist to tap with your smartwatch or mobile phone). It’s that simple to enjoy a quick and breezy journey!

#4 Plan ahead and get your children ready to board or alight

Let’s just say scrambling for all your belongings when the train or bus reaches—while a carriage full of people stare, is probably going to be quite stressful. Save yourself the pain by getting your children ready in advance.

Look out for priority stickers for easy boarding, and when alighting, make a game out of it. Get the children to count down the stops to reach your destination, or regularly update them on landmarks to look out for along the way. This can curb their restlessness and keep them aware of their surroundings, so they are ever-ready to move when needed.

#5 Plan to be flexible

Apps like MyTransport.SG (downloadable via Android or IOS) are great for planning your routes. It’s always a good idea to buffer some time for unforeseen situations, where travelling with children can be unpredictable. In any case, with trains and buses coming every few minutes, there really is no need to rush as you can always wait for the next one!

#6 You’re welcome to bring a stroller

Moving around with a stroller used to be a hassle because of the need to fold it up each time before you board a bus. Thankfully, those days are over. Now, open strollers are welcome on buses, just keep them to between 120cm by 70cm, and use our stroller restraint systems to easily secure your stroller at the designated space!

Graphic with dimensions of stroller allowed on buses

While it’s recommended that you board from the front door, don’t fret if your stroller doesn’t fit. Simply notify the bus captain who can facilitate your boarding from the rear door as well.

Of course, there is a chance that the space is already in use or that someone with a wheelchair will want to get on. If that happens, do spare a thought for our wheelchair users, and fold up your stroller to make space for a more gracious commute for everyone!

#7 Always choose the lift
Image of mothers with strollers outside lift at MRT

All of our MRT stations have at least one barrier-free route with a lift—designed to make it easier for you to move your stroller around—so don’t try to take a shortcut with the escalator!

Strollers on escalators risk getting stuck and toppling over, which potentially bring far more inconvenience than walking to a lift will.

#8 Find little activities to keep the children busy and safe
Image of Max & Robbies Magical Train Ride book cover

Older children can be recruited to help keep the younger ones in check and help out with little tasks, like holding on to the shopping bags. There are always other ways to entertain your children while keeping them focused on the journey, like bringing along a book to read, such as Max & Robbie’s Magical Train Ride (PDF, 5.8MB). Don’t forget to put on some earphones to keep your volume low like Hush Hush Hannah does from our Thoughtful Bunch!

No worries if your smart device battery runs low though, simply direct the children to look at the scenery or even at the tunnels if you’re going underground.

Did you know? The Max & Robbie’s Magical Train Ride (PDF, 5.8MB) storybook was created by LTA in collaboration with PCF Sparkletots, to inspire our young ones to learn all about gracious commuting, and how all of us can be thoughtful towards others when riding the MRT. Hear from the children below!

#9 Travel during off-peak hours
Image of mother with child at Esplanade MRT

If you can avoid the rush-hour crowd, do it.

It’s just far easier to move through stations when there are less people in your way and as a bonus, you’re much more likely to find a seat for the whole family.

#10 Choose the right private hire car service option

If you are feeling tired after a long day out with your children and are heading back home, do consider booking a private hire car (with a child seat booking option) or street hailing a taxi!

Image of mothers with strollers outside lift at MRT

Just a friendly reminder that children under the height of 1.35m riding in private and private hire cars in Singapore need to be buckled in a proper car seat. Unsure which private hire car operators are providing child booster seat booking options? Fret not, as they are readily available on Grab and TADA!

Like these tips? Share this listicle with your friends and family for an easy, breezy, fuss-free journey!

If you’re looking to read more tips for your commute or other stories on land transport in particular, share your feedback with us through CONNECT’s survey here.

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