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SINGAPORE (20 May 2005) – It seems simple enough: tap once, and go. But some commuters may be unfamiliar with the correct way of tapping their ez-link cards when boarding and alighting from buses.

Some tap at the wrong time, some tap only when they board and forget to tap when they alight, and some do not tap.

During the initial months of transition from the old farecard to the new ez-link card from April to November 2002, there was a surge in fare refund claims due to commuters forgetting to tap card at the card reader upon alighting and manual updating of fare stages by bus captains. Since then, the number of claims has fallen. But with the introduction of the Vehicle Location System (VLS) since August 2004, which automates the updating of fare stages on buses, claims have gone up again largely due to commuters' unfamiliarity with the system. Nevertheless, the level of claims still remains low. See Annex 1.

TransitLink is launching a public education program to help increase the public awareness of correct ez-link card use on buses. Commuters can learn from the following useful tips when tapping the ez-link card on the card reader upon boarding and alighting from the bus:

Correct use of ez-link card when boarding and alighting
Commuters may use the card reader located at the front door upon boarding, and use either the card reader at the front or back door for alighting.

You will notice "ENTRY/EXIT" is displayed on the card reader. Tap the card once on the entrance card reader. When the ez-link card is successfully read by the card reader, a green light and beep tone will be produced. If no beep tone is heard, it means that the card has not been tapped properly. A red light and series of five beeps signals an error message.

As some commuters who have just boarded may need time to tap after the bus moves off, the front card reader switches to "ENTRY" mode for a short while after door closes. There is no alighting at this juncture and commuters should not tap to alight.

Commuters may tap card at the entrance or exit card reader to alight from the bus.

If alighting from the rear of the bus, tap the card at the exit reader when the bus is about 100m away from the destination bus stop. The exit card reader shows "EXIT".

Alighting from the front door is not encouraged. The entrance card reader has been enabled to allow commuters to tap for alighting in case the commuters need to alight from the front of the bus. If commuters alight from the front of the bus, they should tap card at entrance card reader after the bus door opens at the destination bus stop, when the entrance card reader has been switched to "ENTRY/EXIT" mode.
See Annex 2.

Remember to tap card upon alighting
When a commuter taps his ez-link card on the entrance card reader upon boarding a bus, the ez-link system will record the maximum fare for the journey (from the boarding point to the terminal). Upon alighting, the system will automatically calculate the exact fare. Should he forget to tap the ez-link card on the exit card reader, the maximum fare for the journey will be deducted when the card is next presented at any ez-link card device.

Concession cardholders are encouraged to cultivate the habit of tapping their cards upon alighting, even when they are paying flat fares. The entry and exit information provides bus operators information on bus-loads throughout a journey. This helps bus operators to plan the correct bus carrying capacity.

Background of VLS
The VLS is a satellite-based bus tracking system that makes use of a combination of technologies, including Global Positioning System, to determine the position of the bus and automates the updating of fare stages on buses. This helps in relieving bus captains from updating the fare stages manually.

VLS is now implemented on all buses.

Three channels of filing claims
There are three channels for commuters to file a claim:

  • TransitLink website under "Customer Claim"
  • TransitLink Hotline 1800-2255 663 (8am to 6pm daily except Public Holidays. After operating hours, commuters may leave a voice mail.)
  • TransitLink Ticket Offices

The claim will be investigated and the refund (if any) will be ready after five working days under normal circumstances. Commuters may collect the refund from any TransitLink Ticket Office. Commuters can also request refund by cheque so as to save a trip to the Ticket Office.


For more information or feedback, the public can call TransitLink Hotline at 1800-CALL ONE (1800-2255 663) or logon to


Annex 1

Percentage of commuter-related claims for double deduction over ridership


  1. Percentage of fare refund claims shows an increasing trend since the progressive implementation of VLS from Aug 04. This is related to double deduction of fares when commuters tap the card at “Entry” mode when alighting from the front door.
  2. Commuter-related claims over ridership due to commuters’ unfamiliarity of correct ez-link card processing on buses is 0.001% on average per month.

Annex 2


Issued by Transit Link Pte Ltd
TransitLink is a service company set up by SBS Transit Ltd, SMRT Trains Ltd and SMRT Buses Ltd to provide an integrated public transport system by bringing the MRT, LRT and buses together as one single, comprehensive network.