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LTA U-turn on SimplyGo transition; Transport Minister issues apology

Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat canceled the LTA’s shift to SimplyGo after public backlash, retaining older payment cards. He apologized for EZ-Link conversion delays and highlighted the benefits of ABT systems like SimplyGo and bank cards.

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SINGAPORE: After facing public backlash, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat announced the cancellation of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) original plan to transition to SimplyGo and replace older public transport payment cards.

Following the LTA’s initial announcement two weeks ago, numerous commuters have voiced dissatisfaction with the proposed changes, questioning the necessity of the transition.

Addressing the issue on Monday (22 January), Minister Chee apologized on behalf of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and LTA for the delays commuters experienced when attempting to convert their existing EZ-Link cards.

He acknowledged that 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.”

Holders of older EZ-Link cards not on SimplyGo, an account-based ticketing platform, will no longer be required to update their cards by 1 June for public transport payments.

Nets FlashPay cards will also continue to be accepted for adult fare payments, with no need to exchange them for a Nets Prepaid card by 1 June.

Minister Chee announced an additional investment of S$40 million (approximately US$29.8 million), but did not elaborate on what it will be spent on, to enable commuters to continue using EZ-Link and Nets FlashPay cards.

Both payment methods maintain the card-based ticketing system (CBT) that stores transaction data on the cards, unlike SimplyGo, which processes fare payments at the backend.

“We have decided to extend the use of the current (CBT) for adult commuters, and not to sunset the system in 2024 as originally planned,” Mr Chee wrote.

Those who upgraded their EZ-Link cards to SimplyGo between 9 and 22 January, or purchased SimplyGo-compatible EZ-Link cards during that period, can exchange their cards for those relying on the older ticketing system for free if they prefer.

LTA in a separate statement on the same day said details about this card exchange will be made public by the end of February, allowing preparation time to minimize inconvenience to passengers.

Concession card holders, such as students and seniors, will also be able to revert to non-SimplyGo cards as part of this exchange.

Minister Chee said he has directed the LTA to explore enhancements for account-based ticketing (ABT) cards, particularly seeking solutions for newer cards to display fare deductions and card balances at fare gates and bus card readers.

Nevertheless, he defended the advantages of ABT cards such as SimplyGo and bank cards (e.g., credit and debit cards).

“If a commuter misplaces his registered ABT stored value card, the balance can be protected because the value is stored in the user’s account. Whereas if they lose a CBT card, the value stored in the card will be lost. ”

Mr Chee highlighted that some individuals purchase ABT stored value cards for their family members, facilitating more convenient top-ups using the SimplyGo app. Additionally, ABT enables commuters to use bank cards and mobile wallets for paying public transport fares.

Accompanied by an infographic on his Facebook post, Mr Chee justified the growing popularity of ABT cards, with around 40% of adult commuters now utilizing bank cards or mobile wallets.

Acknowledging that ABT cards do not store fare and card balance data on the card itself, he explained that it takes a few seconds to retrieve information from the backend system for display at fare gates and bus card readers.

He said similar to SimplyGo, account-based transit cards used in London and Hong Kong also do not display fare deductions and card balances at fare gates.

Responding to media queries, LTA had earlier explained that while it was technically feasible to show fare and card balance information with SimplyGo, it would take a few seconds to retrieve this data from the backend system, potentially slowing down passenger entry and exit and leading to longer queues.

With SimplyGo, the concept was to allow users to view fare deductions and balances using a smartphone app, with notifications once they tap out from a bus or MRT stop.

Alternatively, users could obtain fare information at ticketing machines in MRT stations and bus interchanges.

Other promoted benefits of SimplyGo include the ability to block further transactions through the app in case of lost cards and the convenience of topping up travel cards on the move.

However, many users of older EZ-Link and Nets FlashPay cards expressed frustration over reduced functionality after switching to SimplyGo.

For instance, updated EZ-Link cards can no longer be used to pay for motoring expenses such as parking and Electronic Road Pricing charges post-transition.

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U-turn minister chee hong tart.

CHT , THANK YOU FOR YOUR APOLOGY, while at the subject of spending 40 Million to keep the better system can you also allow the system to go negative and let me go thru the fare gates like the good old days and just deduct the excess used when I top up. Very irritating when I only need 94 cents to go home and got to a dollar and 5 cents balance and cannot get thru the fare gates because of low value. As an after thought why don’t you scrap the Simply go system, to save money from maintain… Read more »

Still waiting for the hara kiri part after the apology.

This seems like a taste of what the 4G team is about. Lousy million$ Boss begets a lousy million$ Next Team.

Frankly, not impressed with LawlanWong so far – giving a lots of excuses, throwing lots of money at problems facing SG; who cannot do such things?

This only further confirms that the million$ monkeys are Monkeys indeed. If CHT thinks it is ok to spend 40m to backtrack on an earlier mistake, then he should issue his resignation to Singaporeans, not an apology.

Just starting the new year, let’s see how many fuxk-ups they are capable of this year.

More likely use $40 million to continue developing their backward system SimplyGo to replace the Ezlink (China empire) and Flashpay (US empire) with SimplyGo (SGGov Empire) Then force all onboard … No?!?

Smart Nation Uniquely Singapore by freerider politicians. In fact I had brought out this issue when SimplyGo first started many years back at their roadshow as well as their booth at Mrt station. This U-turn now is what is call people’s power. There is another issue I brought out regarding the physical removal of card from my wallet to physically tap on the reader. Reason being if I was carrying a baby or items in one hand, how am I going to take out the card physically from my wallet to tap on the reader with only the other hand?… Read more »

We would like to know how EXACTLY the $40 million will be spent. As far as we know, this is ALREADY 2024 and everything is working FINE. ALL existing cards: EZlink, Nets Flash and including SimplyGo are working.

Just to extend it beyond 2024 requires $40 million extra? To be spent in ONE GO? And paid out to WHO?

chee hong tart may lose more votes with this u-turn, after the bus service 167 u-turn. Don’t always u-turn. It is bad for a politican’s career. On the other hand, lhl may be worrying for the next election because the 4G leadership seems to like u-turning or resetting and also the people are getting more mature in voting for what rights and benefits they deserve and demand. Giving GST and U-save rebates, and also chicken rices, are no longer enough for the people….lol. Like someone said before, if a worker who earns only $1000 can get his job done in… Read more »

The PAP Administration did right for the wrong things. And did wrong for the right things. And they do indeed, true to form, 1st time, from the rear.

Disaster after Disaster.
Scandals after Scandals.
SG lives ARE UPENDED by this CALAMITOUS PAP in recent years. Inflation IS NOT resolved. Taxes ARE RAISED and RAISED – for the UNBORN we are told.

How COULD Sheeps still VOTE them – well lies after Lies after Lies DUMBED Voters who are bought cheap with peanuts, chicken bones and Treats chocs.

Sheep land, a 1st World – yeah a promiz land for Foreign Trash.

40 million dunno for what? When the card development has been completed … Not as it there will be addition function to the card?!? 40 million leh …a big sun that I will never see in my lifetime man …

😮

It’s SUPER OBVIOUS Sheegapore is PAP’s PLAYGROUND, a Legoland, Toyland, chop and discard, Put Up, Dismantle any PIECES they deemed UNFIT for their LEGO TOY structures – NO NEED any more Debates and Arguments till the cows come home.

The quality of Jo Teo No Holds Barred Parliament reply on SG being scammed was due to heightened incidents of reports CLEARLY, she BASHED and THRASHED Singapreans intelligence UPSIDE DOWN.

And for this IDIOT Reply she EARNS a Million Dollars BIG BUCKS – GOODNESS us.

No , No , No , No

The operational costs is very high .

60 can afford it .

Is this one BIG EARTHQUAKE PAP Administration SMASHED onto Sheegapore and Sheegaporeans to WAKE US up to AGREE to pay them MORE $ALARIES, upwards to more MULTI MILLION Dollar$ $alaries if NOT they BECOME MORE MEDIOCRE?

Another classic “deflection style” to water-down mistakes and/or oversight resulting in cost overrun. No??? And all that excuses of UK and Hong Kong bla bla are lame. What happen to the bright sparks???

Can CPIB step in to, INVESTIGATE any possible CORRUPTION involved – bcz looks like Sate Reserves are BEING MISUSED lavishly.

Saying sorry is one. But OWNING the mistake is another. Next is WHO IS GOING TO COMMIT HARAKIRI which is a favourite suggestion from Khaw Boon Wan to WP’s framed ‘mistakes’ Also what about clawing6back salaries. How about who is GOING to be punished – any shielding or open information? Lastly, Sheeps ALWAYS recall NO INTERACTION from any Govt services (which is REALLY a service to PEOPLE AND NOT to PAP or EVEN bowing to PAP’s political ‘instructions’) like MAS lost Billions due to currency devil’s at work, MAS Selamat Kastari escape Due to Confluence of factors, Sam lied to… Read more »

Sure, … saying sorry is the right way forward, but why persist on extolling the virtues and benefits of that “new card /system”, … as part of your apology !!! Should’ve gotten another water carrier to project~promote that “horribilis” bit !!! So, … it’s time, supposed expertise and money down the pan, … again !!! Nothin new for this regime !!! Another 40 smackeroos of “easy come easy go” monies, … to prop the current and new crap card/system, … … so they say, as they did, with huge losses for continuing with certain non~profitable bus services cum routes. How… Read more »

He surely remembers well what happened to Lam Pin Min after he banned PMA.
That’s the power of PEOPLE GE !!!

1. How much is an apology in $ terms? 2. What’s on it, the value of an apology – when it’s bloody obvious poor planning, execution? 3. Is SG Reserves being expended? How Much?4. How about the Opportunity Costs lost? 5. How about manpower saved, lost or what interms of salaries exerted ovr this FAILED PROJECT? 6. Is the PM Loong hiding in Mandai Forest. 7. For once can the PAP Administration passed a law in Parliament to VOID their NO BLAME CULTURE which seems TO DRAG Sheep land into the abyss with ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY YET enjoying FAT SALARIES and… Read more »

First you apologised, then you try to make Singaporeans guilty of the noise they made by highlighting LTA now need to spend extra $40million. Singaporeans clap for you, Minister Chee.

A) “Minister Chee announced an additional investment of S$40 million (approximately US$29.8 million), but did not elaborate on what it will be spent on, to enable commuters to continue using EZ-Link and Nets FlashPay” Comments: 1) so now he wants to lay Singaporeans with guilt with this additional $40mil spending because of Singaporeans’ unwillingness to accept an inferior product 2) in the first place, this should have been the first instruction to the team developing the SimplyGo card – retain what is good and useful to Singaporeans and improve on the product. B) Nevertheless, he defended the advantages of ABT… Read more »

👍CHT. Thanks for the apology. At least we know we have a two way system, not one banged down our throats whether we agree or not. Please also allow cash transactions for tickets as if the card doesn’t work for some reason we will have to walk a Loong, Loong way home.Well done on the U-turn.

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