SINGAPORE: Commuters will be able to use their Mastercard contactless bank card or compatible mobile phone to pay for their public bus and train rides from April this year, with Visa expected to get on board “later this year”.
This was revealed by Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary during his Committee of Supply (COS) speech on Thursday (Mar 7).
Dr Puthucheary said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) had partnered Mastercard to test the use of contactless bank cards on public transport under the account-based ticketing pilot in March 2017.
This has been “successful” and LTA is now ready to fully launch the service under a new brand called SimplyGo.
“With SimplyGo, commuters will have the option of carrying one less card for transport, or maybe no cards if they are using their mobile phones, and not having to do card top-ups,” Dr Puthucheary said.
LTA said in a separate press release on Thursday that commuters can register for a SimplyGo account and link different contactless bank cards on the TransitLink SimplyGo portal or app. Participants of the pilot can continue to use the same Mastercard, it said.
Those with stored value cards, such as concessions cards, ez-link or NETS FlashPay cards, will be able to get the same convenience when they upgrade their existing cards towards the end of the year, it added.
Mastercard said in a statement after the announcement that it is "delighted" to be the first international payments brand to partner LTA for the launch of SimplyGo.
AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES TO CREATE NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Dr Puthucheary also pointed to autonomous vehicles (AVs) as another area of technology that can allow the Government to potentially reinvent how land transport is provided and deliver better services through, for example, dynamically routed services.
It was previously reported that self-driving buses and shuttles will be introduced in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District in 2022. This vision came a step closer earlier this week when Nanyang Technological University and Volvo Buses launched a 12-metre autonomous electric bus.
It can also help create new job opportunities in the sector, he added.
ST Engineering, for one, is conducting a trial of autonomous buses and has partnered SBS Transit to deploy a few of its bus captains to be safety operators, Dr Janil said.
“While the widespread deployment of AVs is still years away, such trials give us an early sense of the requirements for the new job roles that will be created,” he said.