Driving in the City of Singapore
Singapore’s highways are all designated by acronyms – SLE, TPE, PIE, CTE, AYE and ECP. Tolls are levied 0730-0930 to relieve congestion on expressways and busy roads using the Electronic Road Pricing Scheme (ERP), which automatically deducts tolls from a rechargeable card inside the car – the In-Vehicle Unit or IU. Vehicles need to be fitted with this card, which is available for S$5 daily (plus a S$120 deposit) from petrol stations and other outlets.
Permanent installations cost S$120.The highways are easy to negotiate and traffic generally moves smoothly thanks to the ERP. Wearing seat belts is mandatory and it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. Offences are treated seriously, with tough fines and even jail sentences. Singaporean drivers have a habit of lane drifting, but otherwise traffic flows without too many abuses of etiquette.
To help traffic flow in the Central Business District, all vehicles entering between 0730-1900 are also expected to pay a toll. Parking is cheap and easily available all over the city, especially in hotel basement car parks. In areas where parking coupons are used, drivers pay S$0.45 per half hour outside the Central Business District and S$0.90 inside.
A valid national driving licence is required, although an International Driving Permit is preferred. Minimum third-party insurance is compulsory and can be extended to cover Malaysia. The minimum age limit for hiring a car is 25 years.
Major providers include Avis (tel: (65) 737 1668; website: www.avis.com), Budget (tel: (65) 532 4442; website: www.budget.com) and Hertz (tel: (800) 734 4646; website: www.hertz.com).
Cycling in Singapore tends to be restricted to public parks with East Coast Park a popular venue for cyclists and rollerbladers. Bicycle hire is available at several outlets in East Coast Park including East Coast Recreation Centre (tel: (65) 449 0541), which offers a range of bikes from S$1.50 per hour. Bicycles can also be hired at Sentosa, Pasir Ris and Bishan parks. The island of Pulau Ubin has mountain bike facilities.