Commuting Trends: Majority Of Singaporeans Take MRT & Buses

Singapore’s public transport network comes at the top when it comes to affordability, transport efficiency and safety. A recent survey by the Singaporean government revealed that the majority of residents take public transportation systems rather than driving their own vehicles to work and school.

Changing Commuting Trends in Singapore

The government conducts General Household Survey once every ten years. It reveals the commuting trends among Singaporeans based on their accommodation, educational level, religion, and areas where they live. Almost six out of 10 Singaporeans take mass rapid transit (MRT) and public buses to work and school. According to the poll, 58.7% of persons aged 15 and up used MRT lines, buses, or a combination of the two. The percentage has increased from 50.7 per cent a decade ago. And only 21.9 per cent of residents took their vehicles to work last year. The proportion of people who travelled using the only taxi or private-hire cars increased from 1.3 per cent to 3 per cent over the same period.

Why people are taking more public transportation than their own vehicles

MRT or light rail transit (LRT) with a transfer to or from a public bus is now the dominant mode of transport in Singapore. This is because the government and transport operators including SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit are working together to expand the country’s rail network.

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The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has a vision of building a reliable, people-centred land transport system by 2030. To fulfil this vision, LTA and SMRT are working together to expand the rail system, improve rail reliability and build more accessible commuter infrastructure along the North-South and East-West Lines. The infrastructure, rail lines, and power systems have been upgraded in the NSEWL lines by SMRT and LTA. The Bucket Panjang Light Rail has also been renewed and upgraded for a better commuter experience.

The Jurong Region Line is being constructed to improve connectivity in the western part of Singapore. The Circle Line 6 (CCL6) extension will connect the Central Business District, Marina Bay and the HarbourFront area. The Cross Island Line (CRL), the eighth MRT line which is the longest fully underground line, will connect major transport hubs including Jurong Lake District, Punggol Digital District and Changi region. Recently, the construction of Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 (TEL2) has been completed and LTA transferred six stations to rail operator SMRT.

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“With a strong foundation in our core businesses, we can look forward to greater growth in a sunrise industry made up of an expanding rail network in Singapore, and increasing mobility needs in a growing region. According to the survey, 58.7% of those aged 15 and up utilised MRT lines, buses, or a combination of the two modes of transportation.

Commenting on the expansion of rail networks, LTA said: “As a regulator, we work closely with public transport operators to ensure that commuters benefit from safe, reliable and comfortable train rides. We will make more timely investments in capacity expansion, replacement and upgrading of the assets.”


There have been significant enhancements to the public transport infrastructure in recent years. The expansion and renewal of the MRT network have enhanced rail reliability. Rail operators like SMRT and SBS Transit are focusing on providing reliable and well-maintained rail services. In the next decade, the percentage of people using public transportation will increase and Singapore will become a car-lite country in the world.