Fares and ticketing on the Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)

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Because the rail operators are government-assisted profit-based corporations, fares and ticketing on Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system are currently aimed at least in breaking even to at least compensate for their costs of running the system. The rail operators collect fares by selling electronic tickets capable of storing data, the price of which is calculated based on the distance between the start and destination stations. These prices increase in fixed stages for standard non-concessionary travel. From the information that was earlier written in these tickets, it is possible to increase the fare according to increments based on approximate distances between stations.

Stations on the MRT system are divided into two areas, paid and unpaid areas, which allows the rail operators to collect needed fares by restricting entry only through the fare gates, also known as access control gates. These gates, connected to a computer network, are able to read the electronic tickets, and can store information such as the amount of time taken per trip, and the start and destination stations of each trip. This allows the rail operators to collect fares based on this information.

The General Ticketing Machines (GTMs) at each station allow commuters to purchase value additions for their tickets or purchase tickets for single trips. Tickets for single trips, coloured green, are valid only on the day of purchase, and have a time allowance of 30 minutes above the estimated travelling time between the destination and starting stations. Tickets that can be used repeatedly until their expiry date require a minimum amount of money to purchase both a new ticket or additional value.

It is possible for passengers to extend a trip mid-journey, and pay the difference as they exit their destination station. Using distance-based prices is in contrast to use of fare zones by some other subway systems such as the London Underground.

Although operated by private companies, the system's fare structure is regulated by the Public Transport Council, with the operators submitting requests for fare revision for approval. Fares are kept affordable by pegging them from $0.70 all the way to $2.00, with the exception of express services, thus encouraging commuters to utilise both bus and train networks. Recent fare increases in the past few years have raised the ire of the public.[1] There were also similar expressions of disapproval over the slightly higher fares charged on the driverless lines, a disparity where there are higher operational and maintenance costs, and lower ridership.


MRT Fares[edit]

Adult Senior Citizen /
Persons With Disabilities
Student1 Workfare Transport
$0.77 - $2.02 $0.54 - $0.87 $0.37 - $0.58 $0.63 - $1.67


Free travel for children under the age of 7.

  • Children below 0.9m does not need a card. A child above 0.9m also does not need a card, until the standardised 0.9m limit, most likely at the age of 4. Most children who went with their parents above their 0.9 metres and up to 4 years old never had their card at all.
  • If you are older than the standardised 0.9m limit (age of 4) up to the age of 7 are required to have a child concession pass. It will not be deducted from the fare card.

Free travel (before 7.45am) and S$0.50 early travel rebate (7.45am - 8am) apply when a passenger taps the EZ-Link card at a fare gate at the station outside Zone 1 and taps out at the MRT Station in a Zone 1 area. The following stations have early travel rebates:

  • East West Line: Lavender, Bugis, City Hall, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar, Outram Park
  • North South Line: Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut, City Hall, Raffles Place, Marina Bay
  • North East Line: Outram Park, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Dhoby Ghaut
  • Circle Line: Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Bayfront, Marina Bay
  • Downtown Line: Bugis, Promenade, Bayfront, Downtown, Telok Ayer, Chinatown

For those who are touring the Punggol LRT and Sengkang LRT loops, a minimum fare of $0.83 for adults and $0.38 for students applies.

For the Tuas West Extension, distance fares only takes into account to the alighting station (the time limit is not imposed) due to the lower demand west of Joo Koon. For example, if you are taking all the way to Tuas Link and towards Joo Koon, distance fares for the alighting station (Joo Koon) applies. There is no extra admin fee of $2 imposed.

1: Only for school smartcards, Diploma Student EZ-Link and ITE Student EZ-Link Card only. Undergraduates have to pay adult fares, as more than 90% of the undergraduates are eligible voters.


Main articles: EZ-Link, NETS, and CEPAS


Contactless smart cards fully replaced their magnetic ticket predecessors on 1 December 2002, making Singapore one of the first cities to implement contactless smart card payment on all main modes of public transportation, similar to Hong Kong.

The ticketing system uses the EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay contactless smart cards based upon the Symphony for e-Payment (SeP) system for public transit built on the Singapore Standard for Contactless ePurse Application (CEPAS) system. This system permits up to 4 card issuers to provide for the market.[2] The EZ-Link card was introduced on 13 April 2002 as a replacement to the original TransitLink farecard, while its competitor, the NETS FlashPay card, entered the smart card market on 9 October 2009.

Stored Value Card[edit]

An adult EZ-Link card may be purchased for S$12 (inclusive of a S$5 non-refundable card cost and a S$7 credit) for payment of public transportation fares in Singapore. The card may be purchased at any TransitLink Ticket Office or Passenger Service Centre. The card may also be used for payment of goods and services at merchants displaying the "EZ-Link" logo, Electronic Road Pricing tolls and Electronic Parking System carparks.[2][3] Additional credit may be purchased at any General Ticketing Machine (GTM), Add Value Machine (AVM), TransitLink Ticket Office, Passenger Service Centre, AXS Station, DBS/POSB Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), online via a card reader purchased separately or selected merchants. Additional credit of a predetermined value may also be automatically purchased whenever the card value is low via an automatic recharge service provided by Interbank GIRO or through a manual application at the TransitLink Ticket Office or credit card online. An option for EZ-Link Season Pass for unlimited travel on buses and trains is available for purchase and is non-transferable.

The NETS FlashPay card may be purchased at all TransitLink Ticket Offices at MRT stations, retail points such as 7-Eleven stores, Cheers and Fairprice Xpress as well as iNETS Kiosks. It can be used for the payment of public transportation fares in Singapore and at merchants displaying the "NETS FlashPay" logo.

Account Based Ticketing[edit]

Since January 2017, LTA has allowed the usage of contactless debit cards and contactless credit cards for fare payments on all main modes of public transport, which is a joint collaboration with Visa and MasterCard, this reduces the need of adult ez-link card. In addition, Apple Pay and Android Pay is also available at MRT stations since January 2017. It can be converted at General Ticketing Machines.[4]

Standard Ticket[edit]

First generation Standard Ticket[edit]

A Standard Ticket contactless smart card for single trips may also be purchased between S$2 and S$4 (inclusive of a S$1 refundable card deposit)for the payment of MRT and LRT fares. The card may be only purchased at the GTM. The deposit may also be retrieved by returning the card to the GTM within 30 days from the date of issue or donated to charity by depositing it in a collection box at any station. This card cannot be recharged with additional credit.

Second generation Standard Ticket[edit]

A paper-based Standard Ticket contactless smart card for single/return trips may be purchased between S$1.10 and S$7 (inclusive of a S$0.10 refundable card deposit) for the payment of MRT and LRT fares. The card may only be purchased at the GTM. Unlike the first generation Standard Ticket, this second generation Standard Ticket can be recharged with additional credit for up to 6 trips within 30 days from the date of issue. The deposit will be refunded upon recharging the card for the third trip at the GTM. A further S$0.10 rebate will be given upon recharging the card for the sixth and final trip at the GTM. Credit purchased for the single/return trips must be used on the same day of purchase. For commuters who purchased credit for the return trip, but did not return to the original station on the 'return trip', they can top up the fare difference at the destination station if the purchased credit is less than value of the trip.

Singapore Tourist Pass & 7 Singapore Pass[edit]

A Singapore Tourist Pass and 7 Singapore Pass contactless smart card may be purchased from S$5 (inclusive of a S$5 refundable card deposit and a 3-day pass) for the payment of public transportation fares including sightseeing bus routes under Singapore Ducktours. The card may be purchased at selected TransitLink Ticket Offices, LTA Kiosks, Passenger Service Centres and Singapore Visitors Centres, and can be refunded at both TransitLink Ticket Offices and Passenger Service Centres.[5]

Access Control Gates[edit]

Access control gates found in Singapore's MRT and LRT stations have evolved in design & features over the years. 4 different series of gates have been used in the MRT stations, and also different faregates have been used in LRT stations. All series of these gates are still working side by side in the MRT system, although the 2 oldest generations of these gates in the MRT stations have their faregates beginning to be removed starting from March 2010 and completed by October 2014. LTA is planning for a "gateless" gantry system, of which it might be implemented in all lines, because of the complexities such as bulky items, wheelchairs/prams and strollers, lowering the risk of collisions when entering the wrong areas and it will be tracked with RFID, similar to the Multi-lane free flow in Malaysia.

First generation gates[edit]

The first generation faregates are made by Cubic. It originally accepted the now defunct magnetic farecard, and was upgraded to accept contactless smartcards in 2002. The VFD fare information display was slanted at an angle for some units. Some of the faregates are in the older text; while some had been upgraded to the newer text. Before the replacement of these faregates with TITAN faregates, they are located at most North South Line and East West Line stations.

It has been phased out. Some of them originally had their older text which is those between 1987 and 1990.

Second generation gates[edit]

The second generation faregates are made by ST Electronics. It originally accepted the now defunct magnetic farecard, and was upgraded to accept contactless smartcards in 2002. The VFD fare information display slanted at an angle for all units; and had LED front entry/exit only display. Before the replacement of these faregates with TITAN faregates, they are located at selected North South Line and East West Line stations such as Expo, Orchard, Bedok, Kembangan, Paya Lebar, Dover and Raffles Place stations.

It has been phased out.

Third generation gates[edit]

A row of Third Generation Gates at Dhoby Ghaut.

These are the standard sized gates that would normally be seen at every station. Each gate features CEPAS contactless smart card readers and 2 central retractable flaps. They are also ergonomically designed & made of stainless steel. Furthermore, they also feature a 6.5 inch LCD/TFT monitor which is used to display information about the ticket used by the passenger passing through the gate, as well as LED displays which show the operating status of the gate (whether it is for entry or exit).

It is located at all NEL stations, Sengkang LRT, Punggol East LRT, and CCL stations.

All Circle Line stations from Dhoby Ghaut to Tai Seng, and Caldecott to HarbourFront can only accept EZ-Link CEPAS Cards.

The production orders for these set of gates have ended in 2011.

Turnstile faregates[edit]

Turnstile faregates are for Bukit Panjang LRT, which originally accepted magnetic farecards. It was upgraded to accept stored value cards in 2002. It will be replaced by TITAN in 2016.

Fourth and TITAN generation gates[edit]

The fourth generation "Titan" gates will eventually replace the first and second generation gates that have been in use for over 20 years. These new gates will be 10% more energy efficient with low energy LED displays, LCD displays and servo-motors. The faregates are much smaller and wider compared to the two types of old gates. They will also be able to differentiate between human and inanimate objects, as there is no more green arrow and red cross signs, all of which replaced by illuminated bars. Red pin-holed sensors are removed, replaced by black plastic. It also makes low-buzzing sounds when there is error. It is in use in North South Line, East West Line, Bayfront MRT Station, Kupang LRT Station, Cheng Lim LRT Station, Nibong LRT Station, Sumang LRT Station, Soo Teck LRT Station, Sam Kee LRT Station, Punggol Point LRT Station and future Bukit Panjang LRT when it is replaced in 2016.

Fifth generation gates[edit]

The fifth generation "Thales" faregates are located at new Downtown Line stations. The main difference from the other gates is that it uses glass flaps that swing instead of the usual retractable red flaps.

ERP Gantry System (MLFF)[edit]

The ERP gantry system will soon be implemented on Tampines MRT Station for the virtual interchange, connecting between East West and Downtown Lines, and Pasir Ris MRT Station (1 gantry). Passengers will not need to tap their card; instead the card will be detected by the reader. This minimizes travel time and removes the need to wait. While the trial is imminent as opposed to cashless system, this would mean attractiveness to all commuters. Innovation of the MLFF will also be rolled out to Thomson-East Coast Line as well, beginning from 2019.[citation needed]

First generation wide gates[edit]

For Expo MRT Station, it originally accepts the magnetic farecards until it was removed by May 2003. All other stations only began to accept contactless smart cards for all faregates since April and May 2002, and applies to all the MRT stations that are built before 2002. It has an LED front entry/exit only display that is similar to ST Electronics, the LCD fare information and it is ergonomically designed.

Second generation wide gates[edit]

Each gate features contactless smart card readers capable of reading CEPAS cards and 2 central retractable flaps. They are also ergonomically designed & made of stainless steel. Furthermore, they also feature a 6.5 inch LCD/TFT monitor which is used to display information about the ticket used by the passenger passing through the gate, as well as LED displays which show the operating status of the gate (whether it is for entry or exit). These gates were designed for passengers with bulky luggage, prams, in wheelchairs or those who are disabled to use. These gates are much wider than the standard ones & feature 2 double retractable flaps. There will always be at least 1 in every station. For Changi Airport, because it serves airport passengers who are likely to carry bulky hand luggage, all gates at this station are of the wide gate variety. Since the opening of this station, all faregates originally had a metal hole for the magnetic farecard until it was removed by May 2003.

It applies to all stations that are built after 2002.

TITAN generation wide gates[edit]

All stations that are built after 2012 into the existing lines have the same features as TITAN, except with their premium-sized version for wheelchairs. Orchard, Jurong East, Nibong, Sumang, Soo Teck, Kupang, Cheng Lim, Clementi, Commonwealth, Queenstown, Marina South Pier, Bayfront, Marina Bay and Damai stations have fitted with second generation wide gates.

Third generation wide gates[edit]

The third generation wide gates is by Thales and it applies for the Downtown Line stations only.

Cronos Faregates[edit]

Designed with wide aisle gates, they promote independent access and passage for wheelchair-bound customers, the elderly, children and travellers with luggage. It is modern and uniquely contoured top cover design and intuitive lane guides provide enhanced visibility.

Located at all Bukit Panjang LRT stations.

Passenger Service Centres[edit]

Passenger service centres are control stations that looks after the station, and handle cash top-ups for all MRT cards, this has been implemented since 1987.

Those without cash top-ups do include:

  • Aljunied
  • Clementi
  • Eunos
  • Farrer Park
  • Jurong East
  • Kallang
  • Lakeside
  • Lavender
  • Marsiling
  • Pasir Ris
  • Serangoon
  • Simei

Ticketing Machines[edit]

In the early years, single trip magnetic tickets were purchased at Ticket Vending Machines with coins only. Notes could be broken up into small change at a separate change machine. Those holding magnetic multi trip farecards could only reload their cards with additional credit at manual service counters or a separate Add Value Machine.

The Add Value Machine originally accepts magnetic farecards, and was upgraded to the EZ-Link cards in 2002. It accepts reload of card credit via NETS only. It was upgraded to Add Value Machine Plus (AVM+) since 2013.

Prior to the standardization of general ticketing machines in 2002, the Ticket Vending Machine also allows pushing button to select fare and accepts coins only. There are also integrated ticketing machines and touch screen ticket vending machine.

The General Ticketing Machines allows the passenger to top-up stored value cards, through NETS or contactless Credit and Debit cards, and apply for the automatic reload service through GIRO or VISA. Passengers can also purchase a Standard Ticket in cash (coins and notes), obtain a refund on their Standard Ticket deposit, check the value remaining in their EZ-Link Cards and view their past card transactions.

General Ticketing Machines by Cubic (2002–2013)[edit]

General Ticketing Machines by Cubic (2002–2013).
  • Passenger selects destination station on a touch sensitive rail map and fare is automatically calculated
  • For all EWL/NSL and CCL stations
  • EZ-Link/NETS FLashPay card is placed on an external reader to be read

General Ticketing Machines by Ascom (2003–2013)[edit]

General Ticketing Machines by Ascom (2003–2013).
  • Passenger selects destination station on a touch sensitive rail map and fare is automatically calculated
  • For all NEL stations
  • EZ-Link/NETS FlashPay card is placed on an external reader to be read

General Ticketing Machines (2013-current)[edit]

  • Upgraded from the original Cubic and Ascom GTM. Its upgrade also coincides with the new Singapore third series coins.
  • Passenger selects destination station on a navigational rail map and fare is automatically calculated
  • For all stations
  • EZ-Link/NETS FlashPay card is placed on an external reader to be read


  1. ^ http://www.ptc.gov.sg/FactsAndFigures/fares.htm.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b Maria Almenoar (9 January 2009). "Free replacement exercise on till Sept 30". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2009-07-20. [dead link]
  3. ^ Imelda Saad (26 August 2008). "New e-payment system and next generation card for public transport". Channel NewsAsia. 
  4. ^ "Joint News Release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & Mastercard - LTA Pilots Account-Based Ticketing System for Public Transport with Mastercard | Press Room | Land Transport Authority". www.lta.gov.sg. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Why Singapore Tourist Pass". Singapore Tourist Pass. Archived from the original on 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 

External links[edit]