Commuters in Singapore extensive public transport system will soon be able to use credit and debit carts to pay for their fares. The measure will help to reduce waiting times at SRT ticket machines to buy or reload prepaid fare cards. A pilot project is to be launched on March 20 by the city’s Land Transport Authority. Riders who have a registered contactless Mastercard (debit and credit) will pay directly at the fare gates. The money will come right out of riders’ bank accounts.
If successful, the system will be extended to other debit and credit cards which make Singapore the first city in Asia to offer contactless payments directly taken from card accounts. So far, the system has been adopted in Chicago, Grenoble (France), London, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney .
With experts touting multi-modal transit as the future of commuting, contactless payment can only turn public transport more user-friendly as riders can easily switch from one transport to another. Mobile phones are also becoming an easy way to pay transport as it is the case in Tokyo for example.
Elsewhere, contactless credit and debit payment like the one Singapore will test is gaining traction. London was among the first to implement such a system, equipping thousands of buses with contactless credit card readers in 2013, then expanding it to the Tube a year later, and eventually shutting down most of its ticket offices. A recent Mastercard report shows the growing trend of using contactless payments in London.
According to the study, on average, about 7.7 million journeys each week were made last year using contactless payments, accounting for almost 30 percent of trips on the Tube and commuter rail systems and around 25 percent on buses.
Singapore’s plan to introduce contactless credit and debit payments in public transport will show see the city-state efforts being further strengthened to become a cashless society. Mastercard and Singapore Public Transport expect that 100,000 riders could use the new facility. up efforts to become a cashless society. In parallel, the LTA is trying to make its EZ-Link transit card the go-to payment method in selected coffee shops and supermarkets.