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LTA’s overhaul of payment method sparks concerns for Singapore commuters

LTA’s recent announcement of changes to public transport payment methods, excluding older cards by June 2024, has triggered discontent from members of public.

Many netizens expressed their unhappiness, particularly with the absence of balance information when tapping their SimplyGo cards on public transport.

This lack of visibility leaves them unaware of the deducted balance.

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petition to LTA

SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced changes to payment methods on public buses and trains on Tuesday (9 Jan)

Starting 1 June 2024, older EZ-Link cards without the SimplyGo logo and Nets FlashPay cards will no longer be accepted.

Commuters are urged to switch to SimplyGo EZ-Link cards, contactless bank cards, or mobile wallet-linked payment cards, excluding concession card users.

Concession cards, used by seniors and students, are unaffected by this change.

After 1 June, older EZ-Link cards will only be valid for motoring-related payments, while Nets FlashPay cards will continue to function for both motoring and retail payments.

LTA’s decision aligns with the increasing popularity of the SimplyGo system, which constitutes two-thirds of adult fare transactions, offering benefits such as fare history viewing, mobile top-ups, and enhanced security features.

To facilitate the transition, commuters can exchange Nets FlashPay cards for free Nets Prepaid Cards at SimplyGo Ticket Offices from 19 January to 18 July.

Refunds for old cards are available at local bank ATMs or the customer service center within a year of the card’s expiry.

The deadline for exchanging older EZ-Link cards without the SimplyGo logo is 31 August 2024.

Service ambassadors will be stationed at various locations from March onwards, assisting commuters with the transition and the use of the SimplyGo app.

Refunds for remaining card values can be processed at SimplyGo ticket offices and service centers.

Users frustrated with upgrade issues, compliance shortfalls, and inconveniences

However, not everyone is pleased with this decision.

Numerous Facebook users have also expressed their discontent with the alterations via the various posts from the media.

A user from a comment thread on the Straits Times shared frustrations about the troublesome process of upgrading the card, requiring multiple attempts before successfully converting.

Additionally, she noted that the SimplyGo app experiences lag issues.

comment to lta

Another user highlighted a significant compliance shortfall in SimplyGo, pointing out its inability to provide transaction details to commuters upon boarding buses or the MRT.

This forces commuters to make payments blindly, with the only option to review details later through their apps, which is deemed inherently unfair.

Expressing a sense of resignation, the user remarked, “We find ourselves without an alternative but to accept what is being offered.”

Many netizens expressed their unhappiness, particularly with the absence of balance information when tapping their SimplyGo cards on public transport.

This lack of visibility leaves them unaware of the deducted balance.

Another user complained about the delay in top-up transactions, noting that it takes a day or two for the credited amount to reflect.

Consequently, his card was rendered unusable until the top-up value was updated.

comment to lta

In contrast, one user advocated for Nets FlashPay, asserting that it still meets all the necessary criteria.

The user questioned the rationale behind removing this card for public transport and expressed confusion over the decision.

Lastly, another user emphasized the importance of avoiding inconveniences in implementing changes.

They cautioned against implementing changes solely for the sake of an “upgrade,” emphasizing that the current system appears to be worse off, resulting in more of a downgrade.

comment to lta

 

Petition urging LTA to reconsider decision

On the same day as the LTA announcement, an individual by the name of Justin Tan initiated a petition urging the LTA to reconsider.

However, as of today (11 Jan), only 98 signatures have been collected.

Justin highlights concerns about the reliance on SimplyGo, pointing out that it requires an internet connection to function as a mobile app.

“This meant that you need to constantly check your balance to see if it is sufficient, which is a contrast to Nets FlashPay which is using the older system where you can see your balance when you tap in and out,” write Justin.

He further explains the inconvenience for users without auto top-up features, as they must manually check balances when exiting MRT stations, potentially causing delays at faregates.

For bus-dependent users, accessing top-up machines may be challenging, and if the SimplyGo system is down, they may need to pay cash or perform a digital top-up on the spot.

In his petition, he made a plea to LTA not to eliminate Nets FlashPay as a payment option for transportation.

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I have to download an app. that is linked to my bank account? 100% it is a recipe for further scams. I want to use my EZlink card and top up at my convenience, not allow LTA to “hijack,” my account.

Agree with you .Coming in from JB by bus, realized that the Singaporean only counter which was needed for our elderly has been removed. We have to share the counters with PRs and the queues were increasing. It was all neat and tidy before but now in a mess. It is really very annoying. Even busstops that are in good condition are replaced. There is a lot of wastage of taxpayers’ funds .

“Fare display using SimplyGo EZ-Link cards ‘technically possible’ but would create longer queues: LTA” In the first place, when a new card or system is being implemented, there should be all round improvement. This SimplyGo card is therefore a regressive card. And now, LTA puts the onus on commuters and is basically saying; “if you want the fare to be displayed, you cannot blame us (LTA) if it leads to a longer queue” Looks and sounds like the LTA is reluctant to rectify a flaw (I consider it a flaw). I guess it will mean some spending is required to… Read more »

take 1 day to put money into a SimplyGo card?!?! how is that better? siao one one.

That is the civil service without the service for you!

They work on their own agenda or kpi if you want to be generous and give two hoots to the practical impact the decision has on Singaporeans.

Quite often, decisions are rammed down our throats because of the PAP’s hegemony.

We must rectify this at the next GE. Our collective aim should be to vote between 35 and 38 seats for the opposition which will deprive the PAP of their two thirds majority; thus curtailing their (PAP) ability to change laws at will.

WHUT?! Simplygo is a FORCED APP? My FlashNets card still good and can last at least 10 years. Why need to change. If I no Money to buy phone HOW?!?

4G PAP govt trying to show their “mettle”.

EXACTLY! The NLB (national library board) catalogue system was “upgraded” and the result is like this Simplygo thing. Less useful information available and a clunklier less user friendly interface. Simplygo should be Simplygone …

Do you need a data plan for your phone in order to use the SimplyGo app? Cheapest data plan for Singtel I think is $15 for one month with no rollover of balance of data. So commuters are FORCED to fork out at least another $15 to Singtel (or the other telcos) for this “upgrade”??? WTF …

4G PAP govt FAILING yet again ….

How issit possible, … that not a single one of those million dollar man or woman spotted the apparent lack of real time transactional details, deductions made and cost of trip/journey !!!

Or did the muppet ministers just took the word of the “systems provider/supplier” on its workings and processes !!!

How can this be happening to a “smart city” or a lauded IT “hub” or a progressive nation !!!

No fear, … service ambassadors will be at hand to smile and wave you on or out of the station, if your card fail to function !!!

I’m wondering is this forced SimplyGo payment system created by someone very powerful Princeling who is equally powerful in Gov I.T.?

How can paying customers not allowed to view how much they paid for the trip and whether getting a successful transfer rebate, which can be as much as single fare trip, which is $1.07.

Nets Flashpay is working perfectly fine showing all the necessary details to the paying commuters and can do topping up using NETS App, although facing hiccups which the App Administrator needed to iron out.

Why kill a perfectly working system and force commuters to use a blind system where anything can go wrong without them knowing until stuck at the gantry

Why did LTA install LCD screens at MRT fare gates and bus readers when using a SimplyGo card shows only that word? Save on the LCD screens and some electricity by putting a sticker with the word “SimplyGo” instead. It has the exact same effect and will serve as a reminder each time we tap out, on how stupid they are in coming up with regressive technology.

Is SimplyGo part of the “Simpson” Empire … Simplus, SimplyGo …

The administration is currently known for half past six work. Not ready … Still PUSH Out. Make a Reality TV show as if they have fulfilled their KPI.

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