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6 Public Transport Hacks for the Busy Working Professional

Posted on | 31 May 2024

With 101 errands to run and places to be, it’s tempting to want to save time and drive or hop in a cab. But taking the train can actually be faster…. And sometimes more comfortable with these hacks.

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When you need to rush from place to place, or when you’re feeling a little worse for wear after a long day, it’s understandable to be daunted by the thought of trekking to the station and boarding the train with the rest of Singapore.

But with eight in 10 households expected to be within a 10-minute walk of a train station by 2030, six MRT lines and counting, the lower cost of travel, as well as an abundance of travel apps to help you plan your route, taking a train is far more convenient than one might think—especially with these tips.

How wide is our rail network?

To transport over three million people a day on trains, we have:

❤ 6 MRT Lines
❤ More than 140 MRT stations
❤ Over 200km of rail networks

Graphic image train station platform with commuters
#1 Use the “secret” meeting point

Imagine this: You’re on the train from Newton to City Hall, and your friends are at Orchard. You want them to hop on the same train as you so you can take the journey together. Unfortunately, you can’t find them and end up getting off at Somerset to unite with the group. Has this happened to you?    

There’s a solution to such situations, especially on the North-South and East-West lines, where the stations have a large, analogue clock on the platform, located at roughly the same area for each. Just tell your pals to walk to the big white clock and board from there. Alternatively, pick a train door to meet at—because if you haven’t noticed amidst the rush hour crowd, each door is actually numbered!

Graphic of train platform with commuters coming from escalators
#2 Pick the door closest to the escalator

It’s definitely a frustrating feeling when you’re rushing to change trains, and find yourself running smack into a wall, or realising that the escalator you need to take is on the other side of the platform.

Android users can skip the struggle with the app Singapore MRT Lah! The app tells you which cabins are found near exits, lifts, and escalators, as well which to be at if you want to change to a different line, so you can save time by either boarding the right carriage or making your way there in advance.

For a more comfortable ride, the first and last cabins tend to be less crowded – making it easier to board during the peak hours too!

Graphic of commuters with two happily seated in the train
#3 Take a quick step back to gain a more comfortable ride

Got a long ride ahead and want a seat? One way to guarantee one is to hop on at the end of the line. So if you can spare a few extra minutes, detour to stations like Marina South Pier, Pasir Ris or HarbourFront. It may be a few steps back in your journey, but having room to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride once everyone alights is worth it!

But if that’s too much of a journey for you, there’s still hope for a seat at stations near train depots. Before and during peak hour, trains are deployed directly from the depot—so they’re emptier and have more space!

Graphic of commuters on train with a mother and child about to take a seat on a priority seat
#4 Stay near priority seats

Priority seats are designed for the pregnant, elderly and those with mobility issues. But if you’re pressed for time and there’s no one around, these seats, and the corners just beside the doors are the best places to make a quick exit. Just be sure to show a little graciousness and offer up the space if someone in need boards the train!

And if you’re standing instead of sitting in the area, shuffle like Move-in Martin when the crowd comes, so everyone can fit!

Graphic image of TEL stations on the Dynamic Route Map Display
#5 Literally, look to the other side

Finding it difficult to keep track of which station you’re at, especially when you’re underground?

No issues if you’re on the Thomson-East Coast Line. With the new LCD Dynamic Route Map Display (DRMD), you can look up anytime to see station map, arrival time—and perhaps most importantly for those in a rush, which side the train doors will open on.

Graphic image of commuters looking at art displayed on walls
#6 De-stress

Stressed at work? Catch a breather and clear your mind by appreciating some art along your commute!

Thanks to Art in Transit, stations along the Downtown Line, Circle Line, North East Line and TEL are decorated with pieces from local artists celebrating Singapore’s history and community.

It’s a great way to slow down, look up and enjoy some me-time.

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