Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Old Card New Card

Since 9 January 2009, Singapore Bus and Train commuters are able to use the new CEPAS-compliant ez-link card on the subway train (MRT/LRT transportation network) and the bus services operated by SMRT and SBSTransit. And since that day, people have been queueing up to get the latest 'gadget' in a one-for-one exchange of their existing ez-link card. The public has up till 30 September to change their existing cards, after which, if I am not wrong, the existing card will no longer be valid.

And in typical Singapore style, long queues have formed to get this latest card. Given that 30 Sep 09 is the deadline, there is really a lot of time to do the changeover, so people really do not have to queue. But I found myself in the queue last week and got mine changed within 10 minutes. Call me kiasu, or whatever, but I have since regretted my haste. This new cards has been an irritant because the fare gates at the MRT stations just refuses to read the card unless I remove it from my wallet. I suspect that the reader might have problems deciphering the various cards in my wallet, as happened with the new NETS Cashcard I bought a couple of months ago. In the case of the Cashcard, I had to put it in my coin and key wallet. I don't shudder to think that I need to carry a third wallet to isolate the new ez-link card.

The odd thing is, the readers on the buses, whether those from SBSTransit or SMRT, have no problems whatsoever with this new card. I continue to successfully 'beep' the card while still lodged in my wallet, as I used to do with the old card. Sheesh. I say again - I now regret changing to the new card. It has no significant added benefit over the old card, at least for now, until some other establishments, such as retail shops, start accepting them from February onwards, as promised. Payment for ERP using this card will have to wait a bit longer as the in-vehicle-units need to upgraded also.

I hope Transitlink and LTA will resolve this problem - err...not by replacing the readers on the buses, mind you. Carrying three wallets will make my pants bulge - I just don't want to be mistaken for being permanently, err, on via***, you know. Right now, this new ez-link card is nothing but a pain in the ass, really.

See also:
SeP - LTA's new generation e-payment system
ez-Link card exchange exercise