How to: Decide between a Singapore Tourist Pass and Ez-link Card

Getting around our tiny island is made easier by the the simple use of transportation cards. But which card best suits your needs? We dive into the world of smart contactless cards.

The Singapore public transport system is pretty decent if I do say so myself. 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 tourist and travellers unlimited travel all-day. With it, one will be able to hop on any of Singapore’s main transport services including; Singapore buses, 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, NightRider, Express Service, Night Owl etc. 


EZ-link Card
Every Singaporeans 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.

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Pros
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.

Cons
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

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Pros
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 which includes exclusive perks and discounts offered by Changi Recommends. 

STP’s $10 deposit is fully refundable after your days are up. So you won’t have to worry when your trip is over.

Cons
The main con is that deposit. Even though it will be fully refunded, having to cough out that additional $10 as deposit means that losing said card translates losing $10 on top of it. 

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 less than a week then I would suggest getting the STP. 

While the unlimited 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 $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?

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EZ-links can be purchased at any Transitlink Ticket Office 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. 

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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