Nearly every major city in the world has some kind of mass transit network, but how fast these get commuters from point A to point B varies wildly. In Singapore, at least, riders won’t have to worry anymore about missing trains because they took too long to buy a ticket.
Gemalto announced on Monday (April 4) that, alongside EZ-Link Pte Ltd., it finalized a deal with the Singaporean government to provide mobile payments support on public transit lines in the Southeast Asian country. Using EZ-Link terminals already installed across Singapore’s mass transit network, as well as the company’s mobile app, Gemalto will be monitoring payments security to allow commuters to pay for subway tickets with nothing but their phones.
EZ-Link CEO Nicholas Lee explained that the EZ-Link NFC SIM project has the potential to revolutionize mass transit in Singapore and, potentially, around the globe.
“EZ-Link is pleased to have concluded the trial with our partners, and together with Gemalto, we have successfully launched the EZ-Link NFC SIM to enable commuters to make public transit payments with their NFC-enabled mobile phones,” Lee said in a statement. “This launch marks another new chapter in the history of Singapore’s public transport with the transition from contactless to mobile payment. We will continue to work with our partners to further enhance the user experience and explore new possibilities with the NFC technology.”
A faster way to get passengers through the gates of Singapore’s mass transit system couldn’t come at a better time. The MRT (mass rapid transit) handled 2.7 million riders daily in 2014 — a figure that barely broke the 2 million mark just four years prior. If ridership continues to grow at the rate it has been since a marked upturn in the late aughts, Gemalto and EZ-Link may emerge as the unspoken saviors that kept the “rapid” in Singapore’s MRT.