First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Singapore’s Land Transport Authority
(LTA) and TransitLink are working towards a fully cashless vision for public transport by 2020, as part of their Smart Nation efforts.
LTA and TransitLink are to launch a series of initiatives where commuters will no longer use cash to pay for rides or to top up stored-value cards. A key part of this is account-based ticketing, which LTA has been piloting with Mastercard since March 2017. This provides commuters with 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.
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 in discussions for other payment schemes to also be included in ABT.
LTA and TransitLink will also encourage and enabler 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.
LTA and TransitLink are also working with rail operators to remove cash top-up services at passenger service centres (PSCs). To minimise inconvenience for commuters, this will be carried out gradually 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.
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.