Greater ease in claiming fare refunds

SINGAPORE - Commuters will soon find it much easier to get refunds on public-transport fares.

From today, refunds for approved claims can be credited directly into commuters' smartcards, such as the ez-link, at any of the 74 Add Value Machines located at bus interchanges and MRT stations.

From the second half of this year, 70 per cent of such claims, which usually take about five working days to process, can also be refunded on the spot through these machines.

Refunds can also be credited to commuters' bank accounts with any of the 16 Giro-participating banks such as Citibank, HSBC and Maybank - up from just two - DBS Bank and POSB - in the past.

These new measures were announced by TransitLink yesterday as part of its plan to streamline processes and bring more convenience to commuters.

TransitLink, a subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority, processes transit fares and redistributes them to the transport operators.

Last year, about one refund was claimed from every 46,000 transactions, or an average of about 100 claims daily. About five million trips are made daily.

Common fare claims made by commuters are due to card readers not capturing their exit, and errors in calculating distances travelled, for instance, said TransitLink.

Currently, about 10 per cent of claims are made online, while 60 per cent are done at TransitLink's ticket offices. The rest are made through its hotline.

Other new measures include the ability to replace lost or damaged concession cards through TransitLink's new corporate website.

In the past, commuters had to go to any its six concession-card replacement offices.

Cards will now be mailed within five working days, down from 10. Some 10,000 concession cards are reprinted every month, out of which 60 per cent comprise replacements for cards lost or damaged by primary- and secondary-school students.

Ms Corrine Ng, TransitLink's vice-president of corporate communications, said the measures are in response to feedback, such as the hassle in getting refunds.

Plans to address this two years ago had been held off.

"There were many national-level projects (such as changes to the smartcard system), which needed to stabilise first," she said.

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