Comparison of Rail Fares between Singapore and 35 Major Cities

The holiday season is approaching and some of us may have plans to travel overseas. Going abroad provides an opportunity to experience other public transport systems. When you do your travel planning, have you ever wondered how we “fare” in terms of how much we pay for our MRT fares compared to other countries? Here are some key findings from a study by UniSIM – comparing our rail fares with 35 major cities around the world:



We had earlier shared an infographic comparing rail fares across eight major cities. The above graphs present a comprehensive comparison of major cities across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. We looked at two key data points in our comparison: the lowest rail fare and fares at 10km of travel for each city. The 10km data point is meant to reflect the average journey distance for commuters in Singapore, according to LTA’s Statistics in Brief 2015 figures.

Fare levels for the cities were converted to Singapore dollars based on each city’s purchasing power parity, where available*. These adjustments account for any differences in strength of currency and cost of living across the regions. Within Asia, the rail fares in Singapore are amongst the lowest, while rail fares in cities like Tokyo and Seoul lie on the higher end of the spectrum in Asia.

When compared to cities in Australia, Europe and North America, rail fares in Singapore are considerably lower.

Apart from benchmarking fares with major international cities, PTC also monitors closely the public transport expenditure of commuters as a percentage of their household income. The figure, currently at 2.2% for the second quintile income group of households, has improved over the years. This means the average public transport user is spending a smaller proportion of their monthly income on public transport expenditure.

We will continue to conduct such comparison studies, to ensure that we are kept abreast of international fare trends and uphold PTC’s commitment to keep fares affordable for our commuters, while ensuring the sustainability of our public transport system.

We look forward to 30 December 2016 when our fares will be simplified and lowered for all card fares. Happy holidays to all!

Richard Magnus
Chairman, PTC

The full study will be published later on our website.

*In the absence of an official PPP conversion factor, fares for Taipei are converted to SGD using prevailing exchange rates. These fares could differ after adjustment for the cost of living.


1 Comment

  1. It is noted that the findings in the report list Singapore’s per trip fares as one of the lowest. However, it is unclear if the committee has taken into consideration that some of these countries have weekly /monthly / bulk purchase passes which when you calculate the average per trip fare on these passes it works out to much less than what a single trip ticket would costs? Perhaps Singapore can consider introducing these passes too?


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