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JOINT NEWS RELEASE

Towards a Cashless Public Transport System by 2020

 

1            The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and TransitLink are working towards a fully cashless vision for public transport by 2020. This is in line with our Smart Nation efforts. 

2            To realise this vision, LTA and TransitLink will launch a series of initiatives where commuters will no longer use cash to pay for rides or to top up stored-value cards. 

Embracing Cashless Ticketing Technologies – Account-Based Ticketing

3            A key pillar of our move towards a cashless public transport system is Account-Based Ticketing (ABT)1, which LTA has been piloting with Mastercard since March 2017. 

4            With ABT, commuters will enjoy the convenience of tapping in and out with contactless bank cards that do not require top-ups, such as credit or debit cards. They can track all their public transport transactions online. 

5            Participation in the ABT pilot has grown steadily to over 100,000 since it began and feedback has been encouraging. LTA and TransitLink are therefore working towards extending the ongoing pilot with Mastercard beyond its originally planned duration of six months, and are discussions for other payment schemes to also be included in ABT. 

Enhancing Cashless Options for Stored-value Cards

6            LTA and TransitLink will also encourage and empower commuters to go cashless by expanding cashless payment options for stored-value card transactions. Since January this year, the option of topping up stored-value cards using personal bank cards, as well as mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay and Android Pay, has been added to all General Ticketing Machines (GTMs) at all train stations. As a result, cashless top-up transactions via GTMs have increased by more than 70 per cent in six months. 

Streamlining of Cash Ticketing Services

7            LTA and TransitLink are working with rail operators to remove cash top-up services at Passenger Service Centres (PSCs). To minimise inconvenience for commuters, we will carry this out gradually, starting with PSCs at 11 train stations2  from 1 September 2017. Meanwhile, cash top-ups will still be available at existing GTMs at all train stations, as well as at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Cheers. We will monitor the impact to commuters before removing cash top-up services at PSCs at other train stations next year. 

Further Cashless Initiatives

8            Over the next few years, LTA and TransitLink will progressively remove cash payment options for public transport transactions, including for fare payment on buses and for stored-value card services at train stations.

Helping Commuters Adapt

9            LTA and TransitLink recognise that some commuters may need help to switch to a cashless public transport system. To assist commuters, we will be stationing service agents at train stations, starting with the 11 stations at which we will be removing cash top-up services at PSCs. We will also make information available at ticketing touch-points and on various media platforms.

10            Even as we work towards cashless transactions within the public transport system, LTA and TransitLink will ensure that cash alternatives to paying for public transport rides, such as for the sale and top-up of stored-value cards, are available nearby, for example, at convenience stores.

11            In the lead-up to 2020, LTA and TransitLink will work with other agencies and grassroots organisations to inform residents, and also to see if we can assist them in their acquiring of banking facilities where necessary, to facilitate their transition to cashless public transit.

12            LTA’s Group Director, Technology & Industry Development, Mr Lam Wee Shann said, “The growth of electronic payments has rapidly transformed the public transport ticketing scene, with cash payments and top-ups being replaced by convenient, fuss-free cashless options. Our aim is to become a fully cashless public transport system by 2020 and we are determined to do so by enhancing the cashless ticketing experience for all commuters. A major milestone will be the opening of the first cashless rail line from 2019 – the Thomson-East Coast Line. With more than 7 million ticketing transactions each day, a fully cashless public transport system will be an important step in Singapore’s quest to become a cashless society and a Smart Nation.

13            At the same time, we will also be working to extend such a cashless payment approach to private transport, including parking. We will share more details when ready.”

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[1] ABT allows commuters to enjoy a “tap and go” fare payment experience by simply tapping their contactless credit or debit card on the bus or MRT fare readers, and without the need for upfront top-ups. Commuters will be charged for their public transport rides in their credit or debit card bill. This is similar to the experience for contactless transactions made at retail merchants.
[2] The 11 train stations are Admiralty, Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Buona Vista, Farrer Park, HarbourFront, Hougang, Lakeside, Pasir Ris, Serangoon and Yew Tee.