Transition to SimplyGo: Public can continue to use EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay cards for MRT, bus fares past 1 June

Transition to SimplyGo: Public can continue to use EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay cards for MRT, bus fares past 1 June

Land Transport Authority extends the timeline for phasing out NETS FlashPay cards and EZ-Link adult cards as part of their public transport payment overhaul, pushing beyond the initial deadline of 1 June. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Land Transport Authority's (LTA) plan to phase out NETS FlashPay cards and EZ-Link adult cards for public transport payment will be extended past its original date of 1 June this year. Adult commuters can continue using these two cards on public transport, as LTA is extending the existing adult card-based ticketing (CBT) system to operate in parallel with the SimplyGo system.

Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said in a Facebook post on Monday (22 January) that he acknowledges the concerns of commuters, who want to continue seeing their fare deductions and card balances at MRT fare gates and bus card readers.

"I have discussed your feedback and concerns with MOT (Ministry of Transport) and LTA. We have decided to extend the use of the current CBT system for adult commuters, and not to sunset the system in 2024 as originally planned," he wrote in the post.

"We will spend an additional $40 million, so that commuters can continue to use EZ-Link cards and NETS FlashPay cards if they wish to."

In answers to queries by Yahoo Southeast Asia, LTA said that the additional $40 million will be spent for the maintenance and replacement of the hardware in the card-based system, and will be funded by the government.

It added that since 9 January, over 100,000 commuters have downloaded the SimplyGo app and nearly 140,000 adult commuters and concession card users have switched to using SimplyGo.

Adult commuters who have already purchased SimplyGo EZ-Link cards or converted their EZ-Link cards to SimplyGo between 9 and 22 January will have the option to exchange their cards to a CBT EZ-Link card free of charge, if they wish to do so.

Similarly, concession cardholders who obtained a SimplyGo-compatible card or converted their cards to SimplyGo will also have the option to exchange their card to a CBT concession card free of charge. Details for the card exchange will be available by end-February.

"I apologise on behalf of MOT and LTA for the delays commuters experienced when they tried to convert their existing EZ Link cards. This could have been avoided with better preparation. LTA has worked to address this issue. It has updated the SimplyGo app and speeded up the card conversion process," Chee said in his Facebook post.

LTA tasked to find solutions to display card balance

Chee also said that he has tasked LTA to study ways to enhance the features and improve the user experience for the new SimplyGo transport cards, which is an account-based ticketing (ABT) card. In particular, he has tasked LTA to find possible solutions for the SimplyGo cards to display fare deductions and stored value card balances at MRT fare gates and bus card readers.

"Because ABT cards do not store fares and card balance data in the card itself, it would take a few seconds to retrieve the information from the backend system to display at the fare gates and bus card readers," the minister said.

"This would slow down the flow of commuters and cause long queues, especially during peak hours. Unfortunately, there is currently no technical solution to this."

Chee said that ABT cards like SimplyGo and bank cards have their benefits. For example, if a commuter misplaces his registered ABT stored-value card, the balance can be protected because the value is stored in the user’s account. Whereas if they lose a CBT card, the value stored in the card will be lost.

"Some people buy ABT stored value cards for their family members, so that they can top up the value more conveniently using the SimplyGo app. In addition, ABT enables commuters to use bank cards and mobile wallets to pay public transport fares," he added.

"Over time, ABT cards have grown more popular. About 40 per cent of adult commuters now use bank cards or mobile wallets."

Public unhappy at phasing out of CBT cards

Since LTA announced the phasing out of adult EZ-Link cards and NETS FlashPay cards on 9 January, the public have repeatedly voiced unhappiness on the new SimplyGo system.

One of the primary grievances expressed by them is the absence of remaining balance displays on MRT fare gates and bus card readers, a feature present in the old cards under the card-based ticketing system.

In response to Yahoo Southeast Asia on 12 January, LTA clarified that the SimplyGo system processes transactions and stores account information at the backend, rather than at the MRT fare gates and bus card readers.

When users tap their SimplyGo card, it takes a few seconds for the fare gates and bus readers to retrieve and display the card balance and deduction information from the backend system. While it is technically feasible to display this information directly at entry and exit points, doing so would slow down the process and result in longer queues.

To address this, LTA encourages commuters to use the SimplyGo app to check their remaining balance and access other commute-related information. The app offers features such as push notifications for fare alerts, the ability to top up cards, and viewing trip details over a specified period.

NETS to continue FlashPay card sales

The Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) also announced on Monday that it will continue sales and support for the NETS FlashPay Card. This decision aligns with the LTA's recent extension of the existing adult card-based ticketing system, allowing it to operate concurrently with the SimplyGo system.

Widely embraced by commuters, the NETS FlashPay Card provides access to fare information and card balances at MRT and LRT fare gates and on buses. Recognisable by the NETS FlashPay logo, it is accepted at over 130,000 NETS acceptance points.

Commuters who purchased NETS Prepaid Cards from 9 to 22 January can opt to exchange their cards for a NETS FlashPay Card.

"NETS will work with LTA to finalise the exchange process and update commuters once the details are finalised," it added.


Nisha Rahim and Chia Han Keong,Transition to SimplyGo: Public can continue to use EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay cards for MRT, bus fares past 1 June. yahoonews.

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