What is a transfer?
Have you ever had to take a mode of public transportation, let's say the bus, and then alight at a bus-stop to board a different bus service, or even the MRT? Or maybe you had to first take the MRT, then alight from the MRT before boarding a bus to your destination?
If you have, then what you have done is called a "transfer"!
Since fares are calculated based on the total distance travelled in our journey, the transfers help take into account that a journey may require the use of different bus services and even the MRT - so you don't end up paying a boarding charge for every service that you transfer to.
How many transfers can I do in a single journey?
If you are using a concession card to pay for your travels, you are allowed up to 5 transfers in a journey as long as you meet the transfer conditions.
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What are the transfer conditions?
A transfer can be from:
- the MRT/LRT to a bus service;
- the MRT/LRT to another MRT/LRT;
- a bus service to another bus service; or
- a bus service to the MRT/LRT.
Under Distance Fares, the rules are:
- All journeys must be within 2 hours of the first boarding (on the same journey).
- Maximum of 5 transfers can be made within a journey.
- Multiple rail transfers allowed with no additional boarding charges.
- 45 minutes for transfers between rail station and bus service, or between different bus services.
- 15 minutes for transfers between different rail stations.
- Current bus service must not be the same number as the preceding bus service.
- No exit and re-entry at the same station.
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To enjoy distance-based fares, do I need to tap in and out at MRT interchange stations for my transfer?
Yes. For those who are transferring trains at the Bukit Panjang, Newton OR Tampines MRT interchange stations, you will need to tap out from that particular MRT line, and tap in again at the connecting line to continue your journey.
However, please note that you will need to make the transfer within 15 minutes. Transfers made after the 15-minute grace period at the MRT interchange station will be considered as a new trip.
If you are travelling from Pasir Ris Station to MacPherson Station, you will need to tap out at Tampines East-West Line Station. Thereafter, you will need to re-enter within 15 minutes via the connecting line, by tapping in at Tampines Downtown Line Station before taking the Downtown Line to MacPherson Station.
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So what does NOT qualify as a valid transfer?
The following do not qualify as valid transfers:
- Transfer between MRT stations is more than 15 minutes.
- Transfer from a bus to another of the same service number or to/from a subsidiary service that does not qualify for a transfer.
- Transfer to/from Sentosa Bus, Night Services & CT services
- If Bus Concession Pass (BCP), Train Concession Pass (TCP) or Hybrid Concession Pass (HCP) is used
- After fifth transfer
Examples of scenarios that did not fulfil the transfer rules:
i. Commuter exceeded the 45-minute allowance between transfers
At about 9:00am, Ms Letchmi transferred to bus service 63 at Victoria Street. When she tapped her fare card upon entry, the fare card reader display indicated "New Ride". She was puzzled that her trip on bus service 63 was considered a new journey. Before her trip on bus service 63, she had taken bus service 197 and alighted at 7:51am at a bus stop along North Bridge Road.
Under Distance Fares, the time limit between transfers is 45 minutes. Thus, when Ms Letchmi transferred to bus service 63, it had exceeded the 45-minute allowance between successive transfers. As such, her trip on bus service 63 was correctly charged as a new journey.
ii. Commuter exceeded the 2-hour journey duration for bus/train rides
Mdm Tan boarded her usual bus service 131 at Shenton Way and alighted at the bus stop near HarbourFront MRT Station. She then ran an errand in the vicinity before taking a train at HarbourFront MRT Station. Her train ride was within the 45-minute allowance between transfers. Thereafter, Mdm Tan alighted at Yew Tee MRT station where she subsequently transferred to bus service 302. Mdm Tan was charged $0.71 for her ride on bus service 302. She felt that she was overcharged for this leg of her journey as her usual fare was $0.05.
Under Distance Fares, journeys must be completed within 2 hours for bus/train rides to be considered as a transfer. For Mdm Tan's case, it was found that when she boarded bus service 302, it had been more than 2 hours since she first started her journey at Shenton Way. As such, her trip on bus service 302 was considered a new journey, and the $0.71 charged was the correct fare.
iii. Commuter took the same bus service more than once in a journey
Mr Ali boarded bus service 19 and alighted at the CIAS Cargo Complex. He later took the same bus service 19, and realised he did not get to enjoy the transfer fare for his second bus trip. He felt he had been overcharged.
Under Distance Fares, for bus trips to be considered as transfer, commuters cannot take the same bus service more than once in a journey. As Mr Ali has taken the same bus service for his second trip, it did not qualify as a transfer journey. Thus, his two bus trips on service 19 were considered as two separate journeys.
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