Replace ez-link cards expiring this year for free

Commuters tapping their EZ-Link cards on the fare gates at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station in 2012. From today till Dec 31, commuters with cards that expire this year - regardless of whether they have been used recently - can get them replaced at any Transit
Commuters tapping their EZ-Link cards on the fare gates at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station in 2012. From today till Dec 31, commuters with cards that expire this year - regardless of whether they have been used recently - can get them replaced at any TransitLink ticket office at no cost, while stocks last. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

With about 1.8 million active ez-link cards due to expire this year, ez-link is embarking on a massive six-month exercise to replace them for free.

From today till Dec 31, commuters with cards that expire this year - regardless of whether they have been used recently - can get them replaced at any TransitLink ticket office at no cost, while stocks last.

The large volume is a result of all of these cards being issued in 2009, when the ticketing system for public rail and bus transport switched to a new standard.

Ez-link cards have a five-year lifespan, and normally have to be purchased at a non-refundable cost of $5.

Ez-link will also hold roadshows every Friday and Saturday this month at various locations, including Ang Mo Kio bus interchange and Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, to replace the cards.

Any value in the old card can be transferred to the new one.

The company, a fully owned subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority, expects to give away more than one million cards during the six months.

Ez-link chief executive Nicholas Lee told The Straits Times there are about three million ez-link cards expiring this year, out of a total of 17 million issued since 2009. Of these, about 1.8 million are active, which means they have been used at least once in the past month.

Mr Lee expects the replacement exercise to cost several million dollars. He said ez-link will foot the bill to thank its customers for their support.

The last major replacement exercise in 2009, when commuters exchanged their old ez-link cards for new Contactless e-Purse Application Standard (Cepas) cards, was also done for free.

Commuters can check if their cards are expiring by going to the website www.ezlink.com.sg and entering the 16-digit number printed on the back of their cards.

They can also check the expiry date of their cards at general ticketing machines, add value machines, SAM kiosks, OCBC automated teller machines and AXS stations.

Ez-link has also launched accounts on Instagram and Twitter to complement its Facebook page and provide customers with more details on the giveaway campaign.

The company said free cards will be mailed to customers with expiring cards who are signed up to its auto top-up scheme named EZ-Reload.

Commuters whose cards will expire next year are not likely to have them replaced for free. However, Mr Lee said the firm would look into the possibility of subsidising replacements.

Ms Gerlisa Lai, whose ez-link card is expiring later this year, said the free replacement was a welcome gesture.

"It's good of them to do that," said the 27-year-old, who is currently looking for a job.

roysim@sph.com.sg