Singapore Tourist Pass vs EZ-link Card: Get Unlimited Rides on Singapore's Public Transport
Getting around our tiny island is made easier by the simple use of transportation cards. But which card best suits your needs? We dive into the world of smart contactless cards for Singapore's Public Transport Services.
The Singapore public transport system is one of the best in the world. Trains, buses, and light rail now connect locales from North to South, East to West. The latest extension to the renowned MRT system, the Thomson-East Coast Line, opens up new neighbourhoods and attractions for locals and visitors alike. Rest assured, you can travel across the beautiful city with absolute ease. What makes it easier is accessing a bus, MRT or LRT with the use of a handy card. The two main heavy-hitters in this category are the Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) and the EZ-link Card.
So here you are fresh of the aviation-boat at Changi Airport. Which card do you get to start your Singaporean journey? Don’t fret, let’s break it down for you.
What are these two cards?
Singapore Tourist Pass
Essentially these two cards are travel cards owned by EZ-link Pte Ltd. The Singapore Tourist Pass (STP) is a contactless pass that offers tourists and travellers unlimited travel on public transport all day long. With it, one will be able to hop on any of Singapore’s main transport services including basic bus services, express bus services, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT).
However, you won’t be able to use the STP on bus services such as the Fast Forward, Chinatown Direct, NightRider, Express Service, Night Owl etc. The Sentosa Express isn’t covered by the Singapore Tourist Pass too.
Every Singaporean’s staple wallet-mate; the EZ-link card is a smart contactless transportation card. Similar to the STP, with this card, you will be able to ride the buses, MRT and LRT (and all related bus services that you can’t with the STP).
Unlike its one-trick pony predecessor, this smart card can also be used to pay taxi fares and even selected shopping and dining options. Nowadays, you can even pair it with your debit card and credit card apps, so you can even tap and get on public transport with just your phone.
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Pros and Cons of Ez-link
Lets start off with the good. When you get an EZ-Link card, you wont just be able to use it for transportation. As I mentioned earlier, this card can be used to pay a lot of other services. In place of a cash card, the EZ-link card can be used on In-Vehicle Units to pay ERP tolls along the road.
Certain vending machines in Singapore have included accepting EZ-Link card payments too. Fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have also accepted EZ-link payments.
The card comes in many different designs and colours, sometimes serving as a collectors item because of this novelty.
The EZ-link card is a prepaid card. This means that you have to add value to the card whenever credit runs low. However, it’s pretty easy to do. Just look out for the general ticketing machines at any MRT station and any bus interchange to add value to your card.
Another less than desirable feature of this is that the cards cost $5 and this is not refundable. So if you’re considering getting some of what you paid for back after you’re done with your trip, you might not want to go for the EZ-link card.
Pros and Cons of STP
Unlimited rides and a few options of day-passes; that’s the main selling point. The Singapore Tourist Pass is catered towards travellers coming over for a quick holiday. So you can ride any number of rides on buses, MRT and LRT.
The 3-day pass option also comes with a bundle package that includes additional perks and discounts offered by Changi Recommends. So you can still get scrumptious dining options after you toured the major attractions of Singapore.
STP’s $10 deposit is fully refundable after your days are up. So you won’t have to worry when your trip is over.
This means that you have to add value to the card whenever credit runs low. However, it’s pretty easy to do. Just look out for general ticketing machines at any MRT station or bus interchange to add value to your card. If you’re having trouble, you can still get help from the TransitLink Ticket Offices or Passenger Service Counters at public transport services and stations.
Due to the fact that there is a limited number of options to choose from, a purchase of this card will only see you get to use it for only a certain number of days. Anything over 4 days would mean STP would need to be purchased.
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Which we would recommend
A recommendation here would depend on the type of traveller you are. If you’re here on a very short trip involving days that are less than a week then I would suggest getting the Singapore Tourist Pass. If you’re looking for a little trinket, you can get the STP Charm, which includes a 1-day pass that you can take home.
While unlimited rides
rides are a huge deciding factor, the flexibility of this card works best for tourists or those on a short trip. The pass comes in a few bundles – they are split into three options; 1 Day Pass, 2 Day Pass and 3 Day Pass.
|Type of Pass||Price||Duration||No. of Rides||Deposit|
|Singapore Tourist Pass||$10/$16/$20||1 – 3 Days||Unlimited||$10|
|SG Tourist Pass||$25||3 Days||Unlimited||$0|
|Singapore Tourist Pass Plus (includes attraction bundles)||$38||3 Days||Unlimited||$0|
Now, if you are heading over to Singapore for an extended period of time, then definitely get an EZ-Link card. You can top it up whenever you need and you could even use it to make easier payments other shopping and food outlets.
Where can I purchase them?
EZ-links can be purchased at any Transitlink Ticket Offices found in MRT stations and bus interchanges. You could also approach the Passenger Service Centres at the same stations and interchanges or 7-Eleven stores. There’s one at the MRT station in Changi Airport too, so you can get it the moment you get off the Arrival Hall.
The Singapore Tourism Pass can be purchased at any Transitlink Ticket Offices as well, or the many Singapore Tourist Pass Kiosks.
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But if you’re a big spender and don’t mind paying admin fees, you can just tap through the gantries with your Mastercard and Visa contactless bank card. This works for most digital wallets or mobile wallets to pay public transport fares in Singapore, even if they’re foreign-issued bank cards. The best part is, you don’t need to sign up!