Testing out travel options to NDP

Reporter Linette Lai using the UberX service for her journey from the News Centre in Toa Payoh North to the floating platform, while her colleague Zhaki Abdullah used a Mobike.
Reporter Linette Lai using the UberX service (above) for her journey from the News Centre in Toa Payoh North to the floating platform, while her colleague Zhaki Abdullah used a Mobike.ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, LIM SIN THAI

New services such as private-hire car and shared bike put to the test against MRT, bus

The National Day Parade (NDP) returns to the Marina Bay floating platform this year, but spectators now have more transport options for getting to the venue and its surrounding areas.

In the years since the platform last hosted Singapore's birthday bash in 2014, the transport scene has welcomed newcomers like ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber, as well as bike-sharing services from oBike, ofo and Mobike.

But how do these new services compare to traditional transport options like the MRT and bus in terms of time and cost?

To find out, reporters Zhaki Abdullah, Tan Tam Mei, Toh Wen Li and Linette Lai rode a shared bike, took buses, hopped on the MRT and hailed a ride-sharing car, respectively, to get to the NDP preview on July 29 from the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre in Toa Payoh North. Road closure conditions of the actual show today will mirror those that day .

In terms of travelling time, private-hire cars and the MRT came up tops, each taking about 35 minutes for the journey from the News Centre to the floating platform.

Linette, who booked an UberX ride - Uber's second-lowest cost option - said the driver's navigation system did not reflect the road closures, which included Raffles Avenue and Temasek Avenue.


Reporter Linette Lai using the UberX service for her journey from the News Centre in Toa Payoh North to the floating platform, while her colleague Zhaki Abdullah used a Mobike (above). ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, LIM SIN THAI

As a result, instead of stopping at the Promenade MRT station entrance as intended, she had to be dropped off at Millenia Walk. This added about five minutes of walking time to her journey.

Wen Li, who took the train from Braddell station, travelled about 20 minutes - including a transfer from the North-South Line to the Downtown Line at Newton - to the Promenade station. She then walked about 15 minutes to the floating platform.

But the MRT won out on price, with Wen Li's train ride costing just $1.15 compared with Linette's $15.33 UberX ride.

  • How they stack up

  • RIDE-HAILING

    Mode of transport: UberX

    Drop-off point: Millenia Walk

    Cost: $15.33

    Total travelling time: 35 minutes, including a 15-minute walk

  • BIKE-SHARING

    Mode of transport: Mobike

    Drop-off point: Suntec City

    Cost: Usually around $2.50, but free because of a promotion by Mobike

    Total travelling time: Two-and-a-half hours, including a 15-minute walk

  • MRT

    Travelling route: Braddell station (North-South Line) to Promenade station (Circle/Downtown Line), with a transfer at Newton station

    Cost: $1.15

    Total travelling time: 35 minutes, including a 15-minute walk

  • BUS

    Travelling route: SBS Transit service 232 from Toa Payoh Lorong 1 to Toa Payoh Lorong 6, transfer to service 57

    Drop-off point: Bus stop in front of One Raffles Link

    Cost: $1.33

    Total travelling time: An hour, including a 10-minute walk

In contrast, Tam Mei's journey by bus took about an hour, and cost about $1.33. She took SBS Transit service 232 from Toa Payoh Lorong 1 to Toa Payoh Lorong 6, where she then transferred to service 57, which took her to the One Raffles Link office building. She then walked 10 minutes to the platform.

The journey on shared bicycles took the longest, clocking in at about 21/2 hours.

Using a Mobike, this reporter cycled 14km from Toa Payoh to Suntec City, then walked about 15 minutes to the floating platform. The ride would normally cost 50 cents per half hour, but the July 29 trip was free because of a promotion.

For those planning to cycle to the parade, both Mobike and oBike are offering free rides throughout this month.

The verdict?

Depending on where readers live, taking the MRT may prove to be the fastest and cheapest option, while cycling will require more time and a minimum level of fitness.

Those who prefer the comfort of a car should pick ride-sharing, but ensure the drivers are aware of the road closures to avoid a longer- than-necessary walk.

• Additional reporting by Linette Lai, Tan Tam Mei and Toh Wen Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Testing out travel options to NDP'. Print Edition | Subscribe