Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) will phase out the standard tickets at general ticketing machines with account-based ticketing between January and March 2022. The project will first start on the Thomson-East Coast and Downtown Lines which have the lowest standard ticket sales among all the rail lines.
The authority’s staff will be deployed at selected train stations during this transition period to assist commuters with the alternative payment methods. LTA will monitor the feedback closely and work with public transport operators to ensure a smooth transition for commuters.
LTA constantly explores new ways to provide commuters with more convenient payment options for public transport. With the introduction of account-based ticketing in 2019, commuters can use contactless bank cards, mobile wallets (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay) and account-based EZ-Link cards. The take-up rate of account-based ticketing has been encouraging, with usage steadily increasing to about 19% of adult bus and rail rides.
Today, the vast majority of commuters now opt to use stored value cards such as EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay cards, concession cards, and account-based ticketing options to enjoy greater cost savings and convenience.
Currently, a standard ticket can be used for single or return trips on MRT or LRT trains. However, it can be costly for commuters. For example, a 3.2 km trip costs SGD 1.70 (USD 1.25) when using standard tickets, compared to SGD 0.92 (USD 0.68) when using stored value cards or account-based ticketing payment options. Over the years, usage of standard tickets has declined significantly. Fewer than one in 1,000 trips are paid using standard tickets today. In view of the low usage, LTA will phase out the sale of standard tickets from 1 January 2022.
The authority will work with partners to reach out to seniors, the low income and migrant workers to encourage them to switch from standard tickets to either stored value cards or account-based ticketing options. Posters will also be placed at various touchpoints like community centres, social service offices and worker dormitories to reach out to these groups and raise awareness of the cost savings and convenience that other payment methods offer.
In addition, to provide better support for those who find it challenging to carry out a minimum top-up in their cards, LTA has reduced the minimum cash top-up amount for stored valued cards at ticketing machines to SGD 2 (USD 1.48) down from SGD 10 (USD 7.38) for adults or SGD 5 (USD 3.7) for student concession cards. This will allow commuters who have limited cash to top up their stored value cards to continue their journey and enjoy cost savings through the use of these cards.
ComCare recipients who do not own a concession card will be given a free adult EZ-Link card. From September 2021, eligible recipients who receive a letter by post can then redeem their free card at any of the 48 TransitLink Ticket Offices or Concession Card Replacement Offices.