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Singapore aims to achieve cashless vision for public transport by 2020

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and TransitLink will progressively remove cash payment options over the next few years for public transport transactions, in a bid to achieve a cashless vision for Singapore's public transport by 2020.

The two, which are working with rail operators to remove cash top-up services at Passenger Service Centres (PSCs), will gradually remove the need for commuters to use cash to pay for bus rides and to top up stored-value cards. Today, some 7 million ticketing transactions take place daily.

LTA's Group Director, Technology and Industry Development, Lam Wee Shann said,''Our aim is to become a fully cashless public transport system by 2020 and we are determined to do so by enhancing the cashless ticketing experience for all commuters."

A major milestone will be the opening of the first cashless rail line from 2019 - the Thomson-East Coast Line.

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To minimise inconvenience for commuters, the shift will carry out gradually, starting with PSCs at 11 train stations from September 1, 2017. The 11 train stations are Admiralty, Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Buona Vista, Farrer Park, HarbourFront, Hougang, Lakeside, Pasir Ris, Serangoon and Yew Tee.

LTA and TransitLink will monitor the impact to commuters before removing cash top-up services at PSCs at other train stations next year.

Meanwhile, cash top-ups will still be available at existing General Ticketing Machines (GTMs) at all train stations, as well as at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Cheers.

The two are looking to extend a 6-month pilot which started in March 2017 using Mastercard's account-based ticketing (ABT) system. With ABT, commuters will enjoy 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.

"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."

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