The Singapore Tourist Pass, is a travel pass that allows for unlimited travel (with restrictions), on basic buses, MRT and LRT trains. The pass comes with one, two, or three day durations, and has a refundable S$10 deposit. On paper, it looks like a great option, however, it’s maybe not as good a deal as it first looks.
The first issue, is that the duration starts from the moment you use the card. So if you arrive in the evening and only travel to your hotel, you’ve used up the first day on the card. Our stop on the MRT was only S$2.50 each, so it made no sense to buy the pass on the evening we arrived.
The second issue, is that it’s very easy to not utilise the card to its full potential, especially if spend the entire day at somewhere like the Bontanic Gardens, Sentosa or the Zoo complex. On the day we went to the Zoo complex, we got the MRT to Khatib, then the Mandai Khatib Shuttle to the zoo; we then reversed that on the way back to the hotel. Even though the Tourist Pass is an ez-link card and you can pay for the Mandai Khatib Shuttle with an ez-link card, the Tourist Pass only covers you for basic buses, so you have to pay. This is unfortunate, as the normal buses take twice as long to get to the Zoo complex, although they are quieter and you’re ,more likely to get a seat.
One useful feature of the card though, is that you can top it up like a normal ez-link card and then use it as such. We didn’t realise that you’re supposed to top it up at one of the special Tourist Pass stations, not at the machines in the stations. We found this to be the cheapest method of using the card, as on the day we were hunting souvenirs in Little India, Arab Street and Chinatown, we barely used S$5 worth of MRT journeys. We also found that we were refunded our outstanding balance, which I’m not sure would happen if you top up at the Tourist Pass kiosk.
If I was doing it all again, I’d probably just use one of my contactless cards, rather than renting one of these.