LTA Postpones SimplyGo Adoption, Commits S$40 Million to Maintain EZ-link Systemsby Fintech News Singapore January 23, 2024
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced a delay in the full transition to the SimplyGo system for adult fares, initially scheduled for June 1. This postponement is a response to various concerns raised by commuters, as well as an effort to ensure a smooth transition.
Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat disclosed the government’s decision to invest approximately S$40 million to continue the operation of Ez-link and Nets FlashPay cards for adult commuters. This decision marks a shift from the original plan to phase out these systems in 2024.
The delay follows shortly after LTA’s announcement that non-upgraded Nets FlashPay and Ez-link cards would be obsolete for public transport payments starting June 1.
However, no specific duration for this postponement has been mentioned. Instead, the additional funding will be allocated towards upgrading and maintaining the current transport payment infrastructure.
For those who have recently switched to SimplyGo cards, LTA is offering the option to revert to their original Ez-link cards at no cost. Addressing the public via Facebook, Minister Chee acknowledged the delays and issues faced by commuters during the card upgrade process, expressing regret over the inconvenience caused and assuring that measures are being taken to streamline the process.
Among the concerns raised by the public is the inability to view real-time balance and fare deductions on SimplyGo’s interface at MRT fare gates and bus card-readers. This issue, along with the conversion delays, prompted LTA to re-evaluate the SimplyGo app and the card conversion process.
Concession cardholders who have obtained or converted to SimplyGo cards also have the option to switch back to their original concession cards without any charge, as confirmed by LTA. Detailed information regarding this process is expected to be released by the end of February.
The move towards the full adoption of SimplyGo had previously attracted criticism, particularly following the announcement earlier this month about the non-acceptance of non-upgraded Ez-link and Nets FlashPay cards from June 1. This was part of LTA’s transition strategy to SimplyGo, which was first introduced in 2019.
However, the announcement led to confusion and concern among the public, with many seeking clarity on SimplyGo’s operations and requirements for continued card-based payments. It was noted that SimplyGo payments do not display balance and fare deductions immediately, a feature attributed to backend processing similar to credit and debit card transactions.
SimplyGo, offering digital ticketing and e-payment options, allows users to track fare history and manage card balance via a mobile app. It also supports the use of contactless bank cards for transit payments. Until this latest development, traditional Ez-link and Nets FlashPay cards had been functioning alongside the SimplyGo system.
Featured image credit: Edited from Unsplash