LTA to test 'hands-free' fare gantry system at MRT stations in 2018

LTA to test 'hands-free' fare gantry system at MRT stations in 2018
The fare gantries that makes using long range RFID technology on display during the Future of Transport Showcase. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY

LTA to test 'hands-free' fare gantry system at MRT stations in 2018

SINGAPORE — Tired of waiting behind absent-minded commuters fumbling for their EZ-Link cards, or those who insist on scanning their entire bag at the MRT gantry gate?

Such scenes could be a thing of the past, if a trial to be conducted next year for a "hands-free" automatic public transportation fare collection system is successful.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will conduct the trial at MRT stations, though details like the number of stations involved will be announced only closer to the start of the experiment.

A mock-up of one such gantry was on display on Thursday (Oct 12) at the Future of Transport showcase, held in conjunction with this year's Asean Transport Ministers' Meeting.

The "hands-free" system works by using long- range radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to detect a commuter's farecard, and deducting the correct fare accordingly.

The upcoming trial will also test the possibility of deploying Bluetooth technology, which also does not require commuters to tap in and out when passing through the gantry gates.

If successful, the "hands-free" system has the potential to benefit elderly commuters and those with disabilities by allowing them to move through fare gantries with greater ease, an LTA spokesperson told TODAY.

Fare cards currently in use for payment on public transport, such as those from EZ-Link or Nets Flashpay, do not use long-range RFID technology. Instead, commuters need to place the cards within close proximity to a card reader in order for the fare to be deducted.

In 2015, the LTA sought views for a "hands free" automatic fare collection system.

The authority was then reported to be considering two concepts: Walk In Walk Out, which allows the presence of the commuter to be detected at the entry and exit of the system, or Be In Be Out model where the presence of the commuter is tracked throughout the system to determine the fare that he has to pay.