Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Useful tools for navigating across Singapore

In the three weeks I have been here, I have never had to ask anybody for a single route or landmark, though I have been going around quite a lot. Its not that I know every inch of Singapore, but because I have learned of a bunch of tools that make it very easy for me to navigate around. So, here I am listing them:

  1. gothere.sg: Its the most irreplaceable piece of technology - the site provides you with information of how to get from one point to another. You would ask why I am not using Yahoo Maps or Google Maps - because neither of them tell you how to use the public transport - as in use which bus/train line and thats the most important trick in Singapore. The site has options to optimize across a lot of options- only bus, bus+train, cab, own-car and across multiple optimization variables - smartest (least changes), fastest and cheapest. There is also a mobile version that doesn't have all the options, but works good enough every time I use it from my mobile. It also has integration with Iris (see below). It also takes into account transfer rebates (see the bulleted points at the bottom)
  2. SBSTransit Iris: This is the service from the bus operator - SBS Transit - to know when the next bus will come at a particular stop. This helps you to time yourself to avoid the time-killing at the bus stop - specially if you are around a location where there is a better way to spend your time.
  3. iPhone Maps: I don't who powers it, but it has GPS integration and hence I can use that to find the walk route to a nearby landmark - specially one that might be mentioned in the route on gothere, but one you can't locate easily.
  4. EzLink Card: This is, strictly speaking, not a technology piece. Its used by pretty much every living being in Singapore - but I am mentioning it here because it saves me a lot of money in the following ways:
  • In a Singapore bus, you either pay exact change or risk paying more. With EzLink you always pay exact fare
  • When you transfer from one service to another - say train-to-bus or bus-to-another-bus, you get a 50c rebate. This makes it not-so-costly to transfer buses making it actually very easily to plan your trip.
  • Plus you get a small rebate everytime you use any service making it a general saving plan.
As you can see, gothere is the biggest tool here coupled with EzLink card makes it pretty easy to navigate this city.

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