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Baey Yam Keng in 2019: SimplyGo not meant to replace existing payment methods

Did the Singapore government break its 2019 promise by recently replacing older payment methods with SimplyGo?

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Last Tuesday,  Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced changes to public transport payment methods, excluding older cards by June 2024, sparking significant discontent among the public.

Effective from 1 June 2024, older EZ-Link cards without the SimplyGo logo and Nets FlashPay cards will no longer be accepted as valid payment methods.

Netizens have pointed out significant shortcomings in SimplyGo, such as its inability to provide transaction details to commuters on buses or the MRT.

The online community questions why the previous system offered this feature and expresses concerns about LTA’s lack of initiatives to address and improve the situation before removing the existing system.

In 2019, Baey Yam Keng said SimplyGo was not intended to replace existing payment methods

A recent discussion on Reddit brought attention to a remark made by then-Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Baey Yam Keng, regarding SimplyGo made five years ago.

As reported by the Straits Times, on 4 April 2019, Mr Baey, during the launch of SimplyGo at Downtown MRT Station, emphasized the LTA’s commitment to ensuring a hassle-free and convenient experience for commuters.

He stated, “Essentially, we want to make the experience of commuters as hassle-free and convenient as possible,” highlighting that the introduction of SimplyGo aligns with the Republic’s Smart Nation and cashless goals.

At the time, Mr Keng clarified that SimplyGo is not intended to replace existing payment methods, such as EZ-Link cards.

Instead, it aims to provide commuters with a choice of payment modes, in line with the government’s efforts to enhance the overall commuting experience and promote cashless transactions.

His remark five years ago appears to be somewhat contradictory to the LTA’s recent decision to transition public transport payment methods to SimplyGo.

LTA in a recent statement asserted that the old Card-Based Ticketing (CBT) system, storing information on commuters’ cards, such as outgoing adult EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay cards, is “reaching the end of its operational lifespan.”

LTA said this decision is in line with the growing popularity of the SimplyGo system, which now accounts for two-thirds of adult fare transactions.

SimplyGo offers various benefits, including the ability to view fare history, facilitate mobile top-ups, and enhance security features.

Despite these advantages, many Singaporeans express dissatisfaction with the change, primarily because they can no longer check their balance while tapping in or out of public transport, causing inconvenience.

In response to queries from CNA, an LTA spokesperson explained that the SimplyGo system has been in operation since 2019, allowing commuters to use contactless bank cards and mobile wallets for public transport payments.

The system also enables remote top-up of SimplyGo EZ-Link cards, reducing reliance on ticketing machines.

Additionally, commuters can remotely cancel misplaced SimplyGo EZ-Link cards if paired with the SimplyGo app, preserving the monetary value in their backend account—a feature not available under the legacy CBT system.

As of December 2023, two in three adult commuters have adopted SimplyGo.

Instead of renewing the CBT system and running two separate systems, which would be “very costly”, LTA has opted to discontinue the CBT system and exclusively continue with the SimplyGo system for adult commuters starting from 1 June.

Reddit discussion unveils divergent views on SimplyGo

A discussion on this matter unfolded under a Reddit post, where users shared their perspectives.

One user pointed out that initially, SimplyGo referred exclusively to using credit or debit cards for transport payments.

They highlighted that it did not replace EZ-link cards, criticizing the decision by LTA and MOT to apply the name and billing process to stored value cards.

In agreement with this observation, another user expressed confusion about the expansion of SimplyGo to include cards and other features, stating, “Yeah, I was confused when SimplyGo cards and stuff started popping up when I thought it was only referring to the tech of paying with credit/debit cards.”

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However, a different user acknowledged the benefits of SimplyGo, such as points and cashback.

Despite these advantages, they emphasized the need for addressing certain nuances that could make its use inconvenient.

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The user mentioned their long-time use of credit card SimplyGo for points and cashbacks, citing the convenience of not having to top up a separate card exclusively for transportation.

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In response to the discussion, another user connected the popularity of SimplyGo to its cashback incentives, noting, “Ooh, now I see why so many people use it. I was wondering why more and more people are using it when they can’t conveniently see how much they have been charged. So it was the cash backs that have been artificially inflating SimplyGo adoption.”

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Redditor calls LTA for a clear explanation in a reversal of the past decision on SimplyGo

A Redditor, recognizing the ongoing initiative for change, stresses that if LTA is reversing a decision made years ago, there should be a proper explanation.

The comment advocates for transparency in communicating any shifts in policies or decisions.

A comment emphasized that SimplyGo should have functioned as an enhancement to the well-received existing EZ-Link system, rather than a replacement.

A Reddit comment suggests that SimplyGo appears to be a new platform rather than a replacement for the existing system. It explains that commuters can pay for public transport using credit/debit cards linked to SimplyGo.

The comment draws parallels with EV charging stations, emphasizing the convenience of tracking progress through mobile apps.

The Redditor perceives SimplyGo as favouring phone or smart device usage, deeming it less suitable for physical cards and suggesting an unintentional push for a switch in usage.

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Real Reason is Transport Minister lobang. Cabin all Too Smelly.
Got to change card & see it can work.
Hahaha.

The senior and junior lees and their minions also lied about hdb value never going down right? Now they flipped prata and said it will go to ZERO after the lease expired. And silly peasants still think they are flat “owners”. You are just tenants living on a lease, where is your title deed? No title deed? Then you are just a tenant but required to pay property taxes! See the irony? Not owner of property but you are mandated by law to pay property taxes for a leasehold flat.

Simply Go, does not show your balance & usage amount.
LTA is going to Simply Take, from your prepaid funds.
People do not check each rides cost, unless they can see it.
They want you to TRUST them.
DO YOU????

Baey , like all politicians, is just another liar. No surprise at all. He can lie about this small thing, who knows what else he can lie about – according to Lee Kuan Yew.

Just let it be an option and not a replacement.

Wah Gutzy Turns Black. Same old Empire Colour coded protocol and some ppl say they Change?!?

本性难移

Operating cost high ?

Both state own mah .

I guess the authorities are done with “nudging” commuters to switch to Simplygo. This is a SHOVE. I wondery why viewing fare history is considered a “benefit”. I’m not interested in viewing my fare history, I want to know the CURRENT fare. Only people interested in SPYING on my movements using public transport would find the fare history useful and that would be the authorities. You know, like back during the covid token days when the police used its entry history even though Vivian Balakrishnan initially said they won’t ….

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