SINGAPORE - Full-time national serviceman (NSF) Jay Leong, 22, did not have to tap his ez-link card at Pasir Ris MRT while wearing his uniform on Friday (June 30). Instead, he breezed through a side gate at the gantry opened by staff.
He was one of many national servicemen (NSmen) who got free rides as part of NS50 Free Travel Day, a move by transport companies SMRT, SBS Transit, Tower Transit and Go-Ahead Singapore to thank NSmen for their contributions.
All NSFs, operationally ready NSmen as well as former NSmen who wear their service uniform are eligible for the free travel.
Mr Leong, who was travelling home from his camp in Bukit Panjang, said the free travel programme was a good way to give NSmen recognition. "It's good to know that there are people who acknowledge the hard work that NSmen put in."
Senior station manager of Pasir Ris station Robin Tan said there have been between 100 and 200 NSmen who have gone through the gantry for free.
Mr Tan added that as long as there was some form of identification shown to prove that the commuters were NSFs, reservists or retired personnel, the benefit of doubt was given and they were let through.
The NS50 Free Travel Day is a part of year-long celebrations to mark 50 years of NS.
However, not all NSmen felt it was the best way to celebrate what NS means to Singaporeans.
Final-year student at the Nanyang Technological University Lee Ming Hong, 25, said savings for the day's commute would not be worth the discomfort of wearing his No. 4 army uniform for a whole day.
He said: "It can get pretty stuffy in the uniform and I would have to wear the boots as well."
Mr Lee added that former NSmen like his father are unlikely to wear their uniforms, because they either do not have them anymore, or they are no longer in good condition.
NSmen wearing older uniforms which have been phased out, such as the Temasek Green uniform, are also eligible for free travel. There is also no limit to the number of free rides that NSmen can take on Friday (June 30).
The free travel period applies for services operated by the four public transport firms. It starts from the first bus and train service from Friday and ends with the last service that day, including Nite Owl and NightRider services.