[Update: Minister Chee Hong Tat has announced that the S$40 million would be borne by the government, and will be utilised to purchase new hardware, as well as to maintain and operate the older ticketing system. Adult EZ-link cards that are not SimplyGo or NETS FlashPay cards can continue to be used until at least 2030.]
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has pulled the plug on its plans to phase out the use of non-SimplyGo EZ-Link adult cards and NETS FlashPay cards for the payment of public transport fares.
Announcing the change in a Facebook post today (January 22), Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said that the LTA will spend an additional S$40 million to extend the use of the current card based ticketing (CBT) system for adult commuters.
Commuters are no longer required to upgrade their legacy EZ-Link cards and exchange their NETS FlashPay cards to a NETS Prepaid Card by June 1, 2024. Those who have already bought or converted to SimplyGo cards from January 9 to today will be allowed to switch back to CBT cards at no additional charge.
Concession card holders with SimplyGo cards that were issued or converted on or before January 22, 2024, including seniors and students, can also do so as well.
The LTA has faced strong criticism from commuters following its announcement of the transition plans. Many have taken to social media to express their displeasure, questioning the necessity of the proposed changes.
One common complaint was that a card’s balance would not be displayed at MRT fare gates and bus card readers with the SimplyGo system. Those who want to check their card balance would have to refer to the SimplyGo app, or rely on ticketing machines.
Since January 9, many commuters have also faced delays when trying to upgrade their older EZ-Link cards. The SimplyGo app was reportedly overwhelmed after news of the transition broke, with users unable to access several of the app’s features.
Commuters have also experienced difficulties when upgrading their cards at ticketing offices and kiosk at MRT stations and bus interchanges. The Minister has apologised for these difficulties, adding that the LTA has worked to address these issues by updating the SimplyGo app.
I apologise on behalf of the Ministry Of Transport 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.– Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat
Featured Image Credit: Public Transport Council via Facebook