SINGAPORE: Some commuters may soon be able to use their mobile phones to pay for public transport as part of a trial by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the agency announced in a news release on Monday (Sep 11).
As part of LTA's account-based ticketing (ABT) pilot with Mastercard, the authority said it would trial the use of mobile payment methods such as Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay for public transport systems from the first quarter of 2018.
"Commuters taking part in this trial will not even need a card and can simply use their mobile phones to tap in and out on trains and buses," LTA said.
LTA said that the scheme would also be extended to Visa and NETS cards from June next year.
Originally launched in March 2017, the ABT pilot will be extended beyond its initial six-month period, LTA said. It added that more than 100,000 commuters have signed up for the pilot since it launched.
Under the initial scheme, commuters can pay for public transport rides with contactless credit or debit Mastercard cards and track their transactions online or via a mobile app. Commuters are charged for rides in their credit or debit card bill.
Commuters who do not have credit or debit cards will still be able to use their existing CEPAS travel cards (such as current EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay or LTA concession cards) for their public transport rides.
"LTA is excited to enable commuters to enjoy the convenience brought by e-payments in public transport," said LTA's chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping. "Together with our partners, we aim for the ABT pilot extension, expansion and eventually permanent roll-out to be the basis of our shift towards commuter-centric e-payments."
Those who want to sign up for the trial can do so here.
This is part of LTA's push to have a fully cashless public transport system by 2020.
In Parliament on Monday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said the Government is challenging LTA and TransitLink to make account-based ticketing and electronic top-ups "so convenient for commuters that cash top-ups and payments will become the less preferred option”.
He also said commuters who need help to transition to a cashless payment system are a "small minority", but measures will be put in place to help them.