The SimplyGo platform was introduced in 2019, which enables commuters to use contactless bank cards as their travel card on public transport.
LTA had planned to phase out the older ticketing system from Jun 1 this year in favour of SimplyGo, noting that around two-thirds of adult public transport fares are currently paid through SimplyGo EZ-Link cards or bank cards.
The legacy card-based ticketing system for adult commuters is also nearing the end of its operational lifespan, LTA said earlier this month.
Mr Chee said on Monday that he has tasked LTA to study ways to enhance the features and improve the user experience for account-based ticketing cards – which include SimplyGo and bank cards.
He added that in particular, the authority will look at possible solutions for such cards to display fare deductions and stored value card balances at fare gates and bus card readers.
BENEFITS OF ACCOUNT-BASED TICKETING CARDS
Despite its shortcomings, account-based ticketing (ABT) cards like SimplyGo have their benefits, said the Transport Minister.
For instance, if a commuter misplaces the card, the balance can be protected because the value is stored in the user’s account. “Whereas if they lose a card-based ticketing card, the value stored in the card will be lost,” Mr Chee noted.
“Some people buy ABT stored value cards for their family members, so that they can top up the value more conveniently using the SimplyGo app,” he added.
Such cards have become more popular, Mr Chee said, with about 40 per cent of adult commuters now using bank cards or mobile wallets.
The minister also apologised for the delays commuters experienced when they tried to convert their existing cards to SimplyGo ones.
In the days after LTA’s initial announcement to phase out the legacy EZ-Lin system, some commuters told CNA that they encountered hiccups in the upgrading process.
A surge in transaction volumes caused the SimplyGo app and ticketing machines to be less responsive, said LTA at the time.
Last Friday, a free exchange service for those looking to swap their NETS FlashPay cards for the NETS Prepaid Card was not available. The SimplyGo upgrade feature was also “temporarily unavailable” at some ticketing machines on Saturday.
“I apologise on behalf of MOT (the Ministry of Transport) and LTA for the delays commuters experienced when they tried to convert their existing EZ-Link cards. This could have been avoided with better preparation,” said Mr Chee.
“LTA has worked to address this issue. It has updated the SimplyGo app and speeded up the card conversion process.”