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LTA’s announcement on SimplyGo “a big PR disaster”, says experts

Finance and communication experts caution possible “PR disaster” by LTA following the recent announcement on changes to public transport payment methods.

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Experts in investor relations and communications warned that Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) could face a potential “biggest PR disaster” due to the recent announcement about changes to public transport payment methods, excluding older cards by June 2024.

Last Tuesday, LTA announced that 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.

Roger Ng, an Investor Relations (IR) and Communications specialist with nearly two decades of experience has raised concerns about LTA’s SimplyGo announcement, calling it a potential “biggest PR disaster.”

In a LinkedIn post, he emphasized that the transition to SimplyGo cards lacks crucial features like displaying fare and balance at the gate, reflecting a disregard for commuters’ needs in the tech rollout.

While it may seem to be such a small issue on the surface, Mr Ng pointed out that it is a reflection of how authorities “pay so little attention to what commuters actually want or need when rolling out new tech.”

Last Friday, responding to media queries, LTA clarified that tapping a SimplyGo EZ-Link card would prompt fare gates and bus readers to take “a few seconds” to retrieve and display the card balance and deduction information from the backend system.

“While this is technically possible, it will slow down the entry and exit for commuters,” said LTA.

However, Mr Ng pointed out that the focus should be on customer experience rather than ease of backend management.

“After all, the point of new tech is supposed to make our lives better and not worse,” he added.

Separately, Mark Lee, a finance industry veteran and Managing Director for Asia Fund Space, voiced his concerns on LinkedIn, stating that the recent incident is a significant PR disaster for the Singapore government and LTA.

He further cautioned that if not addressed promptly, it could escalate into a major topic during the upcoming General Election (GE).

LinkedIn members stressing the need for tech to enhance, not hinder public convenience

Observing comments on both Mr Ng and Mr Lee’s LinkedIn posts, certain LinkedIn members highlighted that LTA seems to have overlooked a crucial principle when rolling out tech or policy changes—tech should aid convenience for the public, not the other way around.

One member commented that while commuters can check the balance on the SimplyGo app, the overlooked basic need is to ensure sufficient balance for the day’s work trip.

She shared her own experience, getting a scare on the app last Friday when her card showed a zero balance despite reloading $30 three days prior.

She also mentioned difficulties in reloading via the app due to high traffic, emphasizing the importance of addressing such fundamental needs in the system.

 

Challenges faced by non-tech-savvy elderly

A comment highlighted the hurdles faced by non-tech-savvy elderly individuals in embracing app usage.

He recounted a conversation with a station manager, expressing concerns about how older individuals, already grappling with smartphones, would navigate the transition to new technology.

“Did they even consider the impact to this segment, who are already struggling with phones. He gave me a blank face, ” the LinkedIn member commented.

“Features meant to help user, not against them”

A member emphasizes the importance of tech features aiding users rather than working against them.

In addition, a comment raised a valid concern about the risks of relying solely on mobile phones.

He questioned the wisdom of “putting all eggs into one basket”, emphasizing potential issues such as water damage, low battery, loss, misplacement, or theft.

“For safety/security, I will not add SimplyGo onto my mobile.. No difference from being totally cashless and relaying on PayNow..”

Responding to these comments, Mr Ng emphasized the challenges faced by the elderly, citing the example of his mom grappling with understanding and linking the app to her bank balance.

Another LinkedIn comment criticized the platform transition as a ‘white elephant,’ highlighting that it has caused more inconveniences than benefits.

The comment expressed frustration at the approach of implementing technological changes without first understanding the needs of end-users.

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You see, successful people like me who drives a merc don’t need all these cards. All these transportation cards are for losers, especially for oppie voters. We vote PAP government to win.

We need to build more traffic lights so we can see why COE is needed.

Where got disaster? Look at COE system. So great at tackling congestion or car population, the whole world never adopted it outside sg.

Early on in Aug 2022 when the Simply Go card started, tried it and realise that it already can’t cope during peak hour usage. For some unfathomable reason, going through the fare gate at 5pm+, the new card developed a glitch and became unusable. And my money was stuck inside and cannot even be transferred to other cards. From then on, swore that I will never change to this Simply Shit Card system.

Hope no glitches/ or system breakdown on 1st june…to disrupt mrt & bus commuters commute to work, school etc.

I Dun understand is there 2 transport minister nw or one 🤔

Keep talking about going 5G network, yet can’t get a simple PUBLIC project to display simple data useful to the commuters (aka users, aka customers, aka voters, aka their servants). Probably need an independent auditor/party to check if they are using 2G or 3G components instead for the system to be so slow. Corruption again, somewhere? Or the million$ minister in charge of Smart Nation implementation is a known FAILURE in anything and everywhere she is into?

This is a failed project by a failed person.

Do we have a choice come June? Never mind, let these high handed idiots proceed with the forced downgrade.
Election is coming in a year or so, see who are the Masters come next GE.

Let Opposition gain simple majority and kick out these bunch of idiots into oblivion forever

they made “new” tech that is slower, buggier and sometimes just “eats” your money when you top up online and through app? how shit is that?

Even the name is misleading – should be rename as SimplyFuxkUp.

While it may seem to be such a small issue on the surface, Mr Ng pointed out that it is a reflection of how authorities “pay so little attention to what commuters actually want or need when rolling out new tech.”

It’s not that they “pay so little attention”. It is that they DON’T CARE about your opinion. They are TOO USED to simply ramming whatever they want down the throats of their constituents and we are supposed to just take it and LIKE IT.

They need to lose a few more GRCs to wake up.

Concession cards for seniors are basically EZ-link cards right? That means the infrastructure must still support EZ-link cards as long as such concession cards are in use. So, WHY eliminate EZ-link cards for other people?

LTA ( like the PAP) asks you to have faith in them.
Just let them run everything, but you pay, ok..?

Just top up card.. no need to worry about being unable to open the turnstile or bus driver denying you entry. ( even if the reader shows “zero” )
Or wrong fare deducted, or wrong balance or no discount for transfer

Fath… 100% faith… everything will be ok..
But pay, just pay…

“…We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.”

Lee Kuan Yew
National Day Rally 1986

What were they thinking?
Purposely making our lives difficult?
some kind of experiment to gather feedback?
Odd!

“…LTA clarified that tapping a SimplyGo EZ-Link card would prompt fare gates and bus readers to take “a few seconds” to retrieve and display the card balance and deduction information from the backend system. While this is technically possible, it will slow down the entry and exit for commuters….”
______________

Wow, so openly unashamed and blatantly arrogant to demand that the commuters MUST serve to their KPIs, not the other way around. As mentioned earlier, it seems there is no cure for the our million$ ministers’ stupidity except VTO.

“A big PR Disaster”.
Kinda Reflects the quality of the present PAPgov in these times..
Many services going downhill instead of improving😭
The whole jingbang should SimplyGo!

Last edited 5 months ago by Blur voters are to blame

“Experts in investor relations and communications warned that Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) could face a potential “biggest PR disaster” due to the recent announcement about changes to public transport payment methods, excluding older cards by June 2024”. Comment: potential? It IS already the BIGGEST PR disaster. These civil servants without the service had better realise the s**t they are already in. This comes from an arrogant mindset that they are always right and the public should meekly accept what they have come up with. If the acting Transport Minister wants to be confirmed as a full minister, he must… Read more »

C’mon lah, … any payment card, in its most elementary of objectives, especially if it’s designed within a “smart city and IT hub”, … must display one’s current balance (before usage/activity), payment and deductions for said services utilised and it’s balance thereafter, … and that is it. If it has issues with any of the above, … then it’s not fit for purpose !!! Bin it and start again, and don’t release it for general usage and consumption, … until the most elementary of it’s objectives is met !!! It’s already a PR catastrophe, … and all it means is… Read more »

Yea, I recall when the no class advertisement come on and says goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. ………………………………… My young nephew will ask go where? To hell?

Pap = party against people
Pap = policies against people

LTA – we keep your world moving.
In 2024, LTA can change its slogan to “we keep your blood boiling”… Lol.

The political career of the new transport minister chee hong tart is at stake. If he insists the change, no people want to vote him. If he makes another policy u-turn, after the bus 167 case, people also don’t vote him. Some may say it is not so serious. But the system change inconveniencing many commuters, could make many people’s blood boil.

Simply go meet the mp session lor

Where’s the transport ministar ?

Still draw mp salary ?

Ez link for the senior

Simply go for the Young generation .

More vibrant .

KNN educated

Voting all these Papigs a disaster.

Don’t ever let malaca generation , piano generation use smart phone .

SCAM .

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