How to get around without a car in Singapore
Did you know that owning a car in Singapore is crazy expensive? I’m not exaggerating!
Luckily, you don’t need a car in Singapore. It’s super easy -and affordable- to get around in lots of other ways. Let’s have a look at how to get around without a car in Singapore.
Public transport is great
For starters: public transport is great, it’s everywhere, it works fantastic and it is cheap. There are buses, there’s an extensive good subway system and there are trains.
Then there are taxis, Grab and Uber
But if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to travel by bus or subway (MRT), then taxis are widely available. Again: (quite) affordable and reliable.
Since some years you can not only opt for regular taxis, but also for Grab and Uber.
You can walk or run…
Personally I walk a lot. Plain old school walking. #walkingisunintentionalexcersise
Not jogging, not running, no, simply walking.
Walking in Singapore is safe and easy.
Not necessarily pleasant, because of the weather. With a temperature that’s often around 34 degrees and a humidity of 70 to 80 %, walking can be quite a challenge.
Unless you walk really, really slow, you WILL get drenched. I don’t mind too much about that. I prefer to walk a fast pace, since that suits me best, so yeah, I sweat.
Other people choose to bike, something that I like less and less over the years. I don’t have much fat on my ass and the saddle hurts me. That’s why I prefer to walk.
Singapore is filled with great paths for walking.
Those paths are perfect for bikers, skaters, scooters, and unicycles as well, as you can imagine. Smooth, car-free surfaces, often lined with trees. Just perfect.
One small problem: they are not meant for any other users than pedestrians and (sometimes) bikers. I’ll get back to that later.
Or you can cycle…
Singapore may not be Holland, where everybody has a bike, but you still see lots of bikes here.
The roads in Singapore though, are not very safe for bikes, because traffic in Singapore is focussed on cars. That’s one of the reasons that cyclists prefer to use the pedestrian paths. Understandable.
So besides walking, cycling is another great way to get around in Singapore.
You DO have the same problem as pedestrians though: you’ll sweat. A lot.
Since a few years, cycling has taken a huge flight, thanks to the concept of bike-sharing that has finally landed in Singapore.
In a short time, the number of companies that offer bikes for sharing has gone up from zero to five: OFO, MOBike, Obike, Gbikes and SGbike.
Thanks to those companies, over 30.000 bikes are spread out over Singapore!
The bikes of each brand have their own colours and system. All systems are docking-free, have an app, require an initial deposit and charge an hourly fee.
Their popularity is not surprising. Biking is healthy, eco-friendly and it is very convenient to be able to pick up a bike here and leave it behind there. Super handy for short hauls, e.g.
Issues around bike-sharing in Singapore
But it’s not all hail and glory; there are some concerns and problems:
- the bikes are ‘parked’ -sometimes just thrown- everywhere. They are in the way and it looks messy.
- you see damaged or vandalised bikes regularly, missing the saddle and so on. Who does that?! #andithoughtsharingiscaring
- a number of users clearly is not used to biking. You can tell by the swaying, clumsy way they drive, nearly crashing into people and things.
- the footpaths are suddenly used by way more bikes than there were before, causing more traffic congestion and more chance for accidents
The government is looking into these problems.
Now let’s have a look at some sweat-free alternatives.
Those are the hipster or ‘cool people’ solutions; the PEV’s. (Personal Electric Vehicles.)
- electric scooters. Usually without, but also available with seat
- electric unicycles
- electric hoverboards
- all kinds of Segway-variations
Why are PEV’s so popular in Singapore?
Their popularity in Singapore is enormous. Again totally understandable.
They can go fast (25 km/h), you don’t get tired, you don’t sweat, you breeze through the city, wind in your hair, and (annoyingly) aware that you’re cool, you’re hipster, you’re on top of the world. #imcoolandurnot
But again, as is the case with bikes: not all’s well in PEV world.
Concerns about PEV’s in Singapore
PEV users use the same paths as the pedestrians and the bikers, even though that is against the law.
They don’t make a sound, so as a pedestrian you almost get a heart attack, like once every minute, when you are unexpectedly overhauled by some high-speed cool person.
I don’t mind them using the same paths, as long as they would lower their speed and give priority to us pedestrians. Walkers are not supposed to have to jump left and right every time an e-scooter swooshes by.
And then there is the risk of these devices spontaneously bursting into flames, burning down the house at the same time. I’m not making it up, folks. It happened and happens. It’s why you cannot bring your PEV on an airplane.
One day I’m gonna be the swoosher!
It may sound like I’m against PEV’s, but truth be told: I would love to swoosh on an electric scooter myself!
The main reason that I did not purchase one yet is that I HAVE to walk in order to control my diabetes and to keep my weight in check. If I would have an e-scooter I might never walk at all.
In a couple of years though, when we live in Spain, I definitely want one. I will force myself to walk there every day and as long as I keep that up, I can e-scooter-swoosh all I want for the rest of the time. #coolsenior
Anyway, the government in Singapore is looking into the issues around PEV’s.
So there you have it: who needs a car in Singapore?!? Not us!
(Okay, we can’t afford one either)
How do you make your way through life? Do you drive, walk, bike, swoosh, fly? Tell me, I’d like to know!