Transition to SimplyGo: Chee Hong Tat apologises for 'judgment error', says EZ-Link, FlashPay cards can be used until at least 2030

Transport Minister acknowledges underestimating commuter preferences, allocates $40 million for extended use of card-based ticketing system

Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat acknowledges a
Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat acknowledges a "judgment error" by authorities in phasing out older public transport payment cards for adults, citing an underestimation of commuters' preferences for viewing fare information and card balances. (PHOTO: Chee Hong Tat's FB and Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat has admitted to authorities making a "judgment error" in the decision to phase out older public transport payment cards for adults, and had underestimated commuters' preferences for viewing fare information and card balances.

The Straits Times reported on Friday (26 January) that Chee apologised to commuters and expressed a commitment to learning from the situation. "We will learn from this and we will do better in future," he added.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had initially announced on 9 January to retire the older card-based ticketing system by 1 June, replacing it with SimplyGo, an account-based system processing fare payments at the back end. However, the announcement faced public outcry as passengers expressed frustration over the inability to see fare deductions and card balances when tapping out.

Chee mentioned that the LTA had consulted over 1,000 commuters from 2020 to 2023 about SimplyGo, but admitted that a wider consultation might have revealed the stronger reactions and preferences expressed by some commuters.

He told The Straits Times that the ministry is reviewing the optimal number of people for its consultation process for such policies, recognising the importance of hearing a broader range of views.

Government allocates $40 million to extend card-based ticketing system until 2030

Chee also announced that the card-based ticketing system will be extended, allowing adult EZ-Link cards and NETS FlashPay cards to be used for public transport fare payments until at least 2030.

To keep this card-based ticketing system going for six more years, an additional $40 million investment will cover new equipment and hardware, as well as maintenance and operating costs. Chee assured the government would bear this expense without impacting bus and train fares.

Explaining the decision to extend the card-based system only until 2030, Chee mentioned that future decisions would depend on finding solutions to technical difficulties hindering SimplyGo from displaying fares on payment readers. He emphasised the authorities' commitment to consulting widely and seeking input from passengers and industry experts in making such decisions.

Chee reiterated that there are currently no available technical solutions to fix the fare display issue for account-based systems, both locally and overseas. However, he was optimistic that collaboration between the LTA, other government agencies, and industry partners could lead to a solution that would eventually encourage more people to switch to the SimplyGo system.

The SimplyGo app and the SimplyGo EZ-Link card. (PHOTO: SimplyGo)
The SimplyGo app and the SimplyGo EZ-Link card. (PHOTO: SimplyGo)

LTA and partners transform trains, stations, and buses for Chinese New Year celebrations

Meanwhile, LTA has joined forces with the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) along with major public transport operators – SBS Transit, SMRT, and Tower Transit Singapore – to usher in the Chinese New Year with specially designed trains, MRT stations, and buses.

From Friday until 24 February, commuters can experience the festive joy on selected trains across all six rail lines and buses servicing routes 51, 851, 106, 166, and 961. These themed services will navigate popular areas, including Bugis, West Coast, Chinatown, Tiong Bahru, Clementi, Hougang, Woodlands, Bishan, and Bras Basah.

Furthermore, key MRT stations such as Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay, Punggol, Tampines, Maxwell, and Shenton Way will also be adorned with festive decorations.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Also check out our Southeast Asia, Food, and Gaming channels on YouTube.

Yahoo Singapore Telegram
Yahoo Singapore Telegram