Make student concession card transactions transparent

Students tapping their ez-link cards at Braddell MRT Station.
Students tapping their ez-link cards at Braddell MRT Station.PHOTO: ST FILE

As a mother of growing boys who are severely overweight, I have tried all means to manage their diet.

I learnt, to my surprise, that my sons have been using their student concession cards to buy junk food, which went unnoticed as the cards are automatically topped up.

I then tried to trace their past transactions using TransitLink's mobile app, but was shocked to find that the app displays only transport-related transactions.

I checked with the TransitLink hotline and the officer confirmed that this was the case.

So any parent who relies on the app to track his child's expenses and, as a result, thinks that the card is being used only for transport, is not getting the full picture.

It seems as though there is not much that parents can do about this.

When I shared my predicament, one parent suggested that I either take the drastic step of taking the card away from my children, or monitor their expenses by manually keeping track of the amounts that are in their cards.

I suspect other parents simply give up and "trust" their children, as their children need to use the cards to commute, which leaves them in the same predicament as me should their children choose to use their cards for more than just transport.

I urge the relevant authorities to take swift action to correct this.

At the very least, TransitLink should provide full transparency for all transactions made using student concession cards.

All transactions should be displayed to account for every cent spent using the card. And the latest known balance remaining on the card should also be displayed.

Alternatively, allow parents to block the card from being used for any purpose other than public transport.

Lois Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2019, with the headline 'Make student concession card transactions transparent'. Print Edition | Subscribe