If you think mrbrown’s revelation on changing headlines on the Straits Times website is bad, wait till you see changing content. I got news of some new EZ-Link card that the LTA is rolling out to replace the current ones (no mention of paying new non-refundable deposits) by the end of next year. They were supposed to look for 10,000 public transport commuters to test the new EZ-Link card if the following article is anything to go by:

On trial: New ez-link card

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

WANTED: 10,000 public transport commuters to ‘test-ride’ a new ez-link card between Aug 29 and Oct 28.

Those who clock at least 100 rides with the new card – which will eventually have several non-transit applications – will receive $20 public transport vouchers.

Volunteers can sign up at TransitLink ticket offices located at most bus interchanges and MRT stations. They will get to exchange their existing ez-link cards for the new Cepas-compliant cards.

Cepas stands for Singapore’s ‘Contactless ePurse Application’ – a secured platform for all non-cash transactions using contactless cards.

Besides train and bus fares, the new ez-link card can be used to pay for electronic road-pricing (ERP), carparks, cabs as well as a meal or merchandise.

Currently, few outlets other than McDonald’s and 7-Eleven offer this payment option.

Public transport commuters and motorists who take buses and trains occasionally should sign up for the trial. This is because the existing ez-link card will be phased out by around end of next year.

There are now about 10 million valid ez-link cards in circulation.

The Land Transport Authority said on Tuesday it hopes commuers taking part in the trial can clock one million rides in total. It said this number would give it ample opportunity to identify and weed out any glitches there might be before the new card is launched by ‘end of this year or early next year."

LTA deputy chief executive Lim Bok Ngam said some $100 million has been invested to roll out the new card. The sum includes modifying the 22,000 card readers on buses and at trains stations, obtaining the new cards and other related costs.

‘We currently have two card platforms in Singapore. One for public transport, and another for cars and other commercial transactions. With the new Cepas-compliant ez-link card, you can make all transactions with just one card," he said.

The move also opens up the market for new card issuers to enter the transit market, which has so far been exclusive to LTA-owned EZ Link Pte Ltd.

The competition, Mr Lim said, would ultimately be good for consumers. For one, the price of the card should come down (both Nets’ Cashcard and the current ez-link card costs $5 today).

In fact, the LTA said there is little to prevent a card issuer from giving the card free of charge – like credit cards.

Mr Lim expects card companies to build in loyalty programmes as well, to attract and retain customers.

As for motorists, they can look forward to using the new ez-link card for ERP payments from early next year, when a new-generation in-vehicle unit is installed in new cars.

Owners of existing vehicles who want the new gadget can have it installed, for $150, excluding GST.

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_272050.html

So the enthusiastic me went down to the nearest TransitLink ticketing office to enquire on how I can embark on this trial. Much to my surprise, the staff at ticketing office #1 doesn’t seem to know about this and claimed that the trialists are pre-selected. Puzzle, I asked the staff at the station control who were equally fazed by this. They did, however, receive a fax presumably from the HQ on this, although they couldn’t say for sure how I can enroll myself into the trial.

Hence, a rather pissed me went down to town to inquire at the ticketing office. Ticketing office #2 told me the same story that the trialists are pre-selected and that they would only know upon topping up of their card. Since I am on Giro, I asked how I could be notified if I was one of them. The answer was less than ideal because "I would have to try my luck on the 29th of August".

I decided to give up and went about doing my business (no, not the toilet, but to get my things done). While doing up my other posts, I decide to read the fine lines in the earlier article and guess what I found?

On trial: New ez-link card

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

FOUND: 10,000 public transport commuters to ‘test-ride’ a new ez-link card between Aug 29 and Oct 28.

Of these pre-selected users, those who clock at least 100 rides with the new card – which will eventually have several non-transit applications – will receive $20 public transport vouchers.

The new ez-link card is the first stored value card here to comply with the new Cepas standard.

Cepas stands for Singapore’s ‘Contactless ePurse Application’ – a secured platform for all non-cash transactions using contactless cards.

Besides train and bus fares, the new ez-link card can be used to pay for electronic road-pricing (ERP), parking and cab charges, as well as a meal or merchandise.

Currently, few outlets other than McDonald’s and 7-Eleven offer this payment option.

The current ez-link card will be phased out by end of next year. There are now about 10 million valid ez-link cards in circulation.

The Land Transport Authority said on Tuesday that it hopes commuters taking part in the trial can clock one million rides.

It said this number would give it ample opportunity to identify and weed out any glitches there might be before the new card is launched by ‘end of this year or early next year.”

LTA deputy chief executive Lim Bok Ngam said the authority has invested some $100 million to roll out the new card. The sum includes development cost, modifying the 22,000 card readers on buses and at trains stations, getting the new cards manufactured and other related costs.

‘We currently have two card platforms in Singapore. One for public transport, and another for cars and other commercial transactions. With the new Cepas-compliant ez-link card, you can make all transactions with just one card,” he said.

The move also opens up the market for new card issuers to enter the transit market, which has so far been exclusive to LTA-owned EZ Link Pte Ltd.

The competition, Mr Lim said, would ultimately be good for consumers. For one, the price of the card should come down (both Nets’ Cashcard and the current ez-link card costs $5 today).

Observers said there is little to prevent a card issuer from giving the card free of charge – like credit cards.

Mr Lim foresees card companies to build in loyalty programmes as well, so as to attract and retain customers.

As for motorists, they can look forward to using the new ez-link card for ERP payments from early next year, when a new-generation in-vehicle unit is installed in new cars.

Owners of existing vehicles who want the new gadget can have it installed, for $150, excluding GST.

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_272050.html

Hello?! I thought they were looking for 10,000 trialists! How did they manage to change from WANTED to FOUND in just a matter of… a few hours? The article was published no earlier than 4pm and was updated at 7:47pm. I don’t think people actually started swarming the ticketing offices because no one seemed to know anything. However, I guess it’s probably a miscommunication between the LTA and Straits Times.

Of course, I am a little disappointed at not being able to use the new EZ-Link card. Come on, I am a geek and geeks like me like to try out new stuffs; even though the EZ-Link card is nothing new. Come to think of it, there are about 10 million valid EZ-Link cards in circulation and a non-refundable $5 charge had been imposed on EZ-Link cards purchased after EZ Link Pte Ltd (or some previous companies) decided that they will be in the red for a long time should they not doing something about the quick turnover of cards. Now, imagine if all of these 10 million EZ-Link cards have to be replaced, that means a hefty cost of $50 million! Hmm… I wonder who is footing the bill.

So, there could be a few scenarios:

  • 1 to 1 exchange of EZ-Link cards (best scenario, I guess)
  • 1 to 1 exchange of EZ-Link cards for people who have paid the $5 non-refundable deposit; and commuters who bought the earlier free EZ-Link card will have to pay the $5 now (what the?!)
  • everyone just pay another $5 more for the new EZ-Link card, have the remaining value on the old card transferred to the new card and allow the commuter to keep the old card for posterity (?!?!)

Reading from the articles, I guess the Cepas-compliancy is another initiative to standardize all cards into 1. This effectively eliminates the need of the CashCard, which had been issued for as far back as I can remember, but is only good for ERP, carparks and paying library dues. Yes, that’s the only time a student gets to use the CashCard. So… "Hey pa! Look! I have a CashCard just like you do!"

Well, reading further, in-vehicle units for this new card will be install on all new cars. There’s no mention if these new units will support the CashCard. Should the driver wish to install the new units, it will be a hefty $150. Thank goodness they are not phasing out the CashCard instead, but letting it die a natural death. Going by this, the CashCard will probably be around for another 10 more years or so, since recent car owners will now be stuck with the old vehicle unit.

Hmm… the article also says that some $100 million had been invested to roll out the new card – including replacement of card readers in buses and train stations. I wonder how they are going to get their ROI on this investment.

Just for fun, Alice Cheong In Wonderland did a comparison of the 2 articles. I did similar comparison (underline denotes new material in article, strikeout denotes removed material from old article) with comments, but you should still drop by to see how she too, was affected by the unwarranted error in the papers. So much for consistency.

On trial: New ez-link card

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

FOUND:WANTED: 10,000 public transport commuters to ‘test-ride’ a new ez-link card between Aug 29 and Oct 28.

What? I thought it was WANTED? Since when did it become FOUND? (Ans: When they decided so)

Of these pre-selected users, thoseThose who clock at least 100 rides with the new card – which will eventually have several non-transit applications – will receive $20 public transport vouchers.

Since when did pre-selected users come in? (Ans: When they decided so too)

The new ez-link card is the first stored value card here to comply with the new Cepas standard.Volunteers can sign up at TransitLink ticket offices located at most bus interchanges and MRT stations. They will get to exchange their existing ez-link cards for the new Cepas-compliant cards.

See? I knew I wasn’t dreaming when I thought they were looking for volunteers! In fact, they were saying that volunteers can sign up at TransitLink ticket offices!

Cepas stands for Singapore’s ‘Contactless ePurse Application’ – a secured platform for all non-cash transactions using contactless cards.

Besides train and bus fares, the new ez-link card can be used to pay for electronic road-pricing (ERP), parking and cab charges,carparks, cabs as well as a meal or merchandise.

Currently, few outlets other than McDonald’s and 7-Eleven offer this payment option.

The currentPublic transport commuters and motorists who take buses and trains occasionally should sign up for the trial. This is because the existing ez-link card will be phased out by around end of next year.

Yup. We no longer need to sign up for the trial because it’s only for pre-selected commuters.

There are now about 10 million valid ez-link cards in circulation.

The Land Transport Authority said on Tuesday that it hopes commuterscommuers taking part in the trial can clock one million rides.

in total. It said this number would give it ample opportunity to identify and weed out any glitches there might be before the new card is launched by ‘end of this year or early next year.”year."

LTA deputy chief executive Lim Bok Ngam said the authority has invested some $100 million has been invested to roll out the new card. The sum includes development cost, modifying the 22,000 card readers on buses and at trains stations, gettingobtaining the new cards manufactured and other related costs.

Heh. Claiming credit on where the $100 million come from; and not to forget adding in the development cost into perspective.

‘We currently have two card platforms in Singapore. One for public transport, and another for cars and other commercial transactions. With the new Cepas-compliant ez-link card, you can make all transactions with just one card,”card," he said.

The move also opens up the market for new card issuers to enter the transit market, which has so far been exclusive to LTA-owned EZ Link Pte Ltd.

The competition, Mr Lim said, would ultimately be good for consumers. For one, the price of the card should come down (both Nets’ Cashcard and the current ez-link card costs $5 today).

ObserversIn fact, the LTA said there is little to prevent a card issuer from giving the card free of charge – like credit cards.

Observers? Not LTA? Sure?

Mr Lim foreseesexpects card companies to build in loyalty programmes as well, so as to attract and retain customers.

Expect (obtained from dictionary.com):

1. To look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance of: expecting a telephone call; expects rain on Sunday.

2. To consider likely or certain: expect to see them soon.

3. To consider reasonable or due: We expect an apology.

4. To consider obligatory; require: The school expects its pupils to be on time.

5. Informal To presume; suppose. (I think this is not what they want people to think it is)

Foresee (obtained from dictionary.com):

–verb (used with object)

1. to have prescience of; to know in advance; foreknow.

2. to see beforehand.

–verb (used without object)

3. to exercise foresight. (I think this is the more important definition they were thinking of)

As for motorists, they can look forward to using the new ez-link card for ERP payments from early next year, when a new-generation in-vehicle unit is installed in new cars.

Owners of existing vehicles who want the new gadget can have it installed, for $150, excluding GST.

See? I knew I wasn’t dreaming when I was queuing up at the TransitLink ticket office, perspiring and all…

Article extracted on 26th August 2008



Reader's Comments

  1. reeneho | August 27th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Well, MyPaper this morning said that the trialists were pre-selected and when they go to the transitlink office to top-up their card between 29/8 & 12/9, they’ll be invited to try out the new card.

    Quoted:
    LTA已選出那些經常使用,並純粹只用ez-link卡乘搭巴士與地鐵的成人乘客。從本月星期五到下月12日之間,這些乘客如果到Transitlink售票處為ez-link卡添值。就會被邀請參與測試計劃。

    Didn’t know that the same media company can have 2 vastly different reports.. XD

  2. User | August 27th, 2008 at 10:59 am

    U can also see
    http://forum.channelnewsasia.com/viewtopic.php?t=170269&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20#2205884

    the person also captured, wanted…

    haha

  3. Jwong | August 28th, 2008 at 9:26 am

    We’d take the local media a lot more seriously if the just left the original article intact and then published a retracting statement of some sort.

    In fact, for the sake of accountability, the system should be audited and made sure that published articles can not be edited. That might even make them more cautious of what they publish in the first place.

    News articles can have very wide-reaching consequences, you know? I mean, even people posting on blogs and being brought to court for the content. Dissent, discourse, anyone? Yes, I laugh at that too.

    But it’s time we held the media accountable for the stuff they publish as well, and not allow them to cover everything up.

    This is not the first case of media censorship we’ve seen being exercised here. Do they really expect people not to notice? Or in the words of my highly enlightened colleague, “What, they think we stupid, ah?”

  4. serene | June 2nd, 2009 at 9:38 am

    What will happen to the stored value if about 5m ez-link card were not being replaced? Who pocket the $$$?

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