No need to be heartless in drive to go cashless

As a young person, I have always been exposed to technology. I am comfortable with cashless payments and the use of ATM cards for ez-link top-ups and so on.

However, some people clearly do not feel the same way (MRT moves a step closer in journey to go cashless; Feb 19).

For some of these people, and I think they tend to be those in the low-income group, they see the use of physical cash as the best way for them to carefully monitor and manage their money.

Some elderly people also prefer using cash as they have trouble remembering their ATM pin number.

If public transport is meant to be a public service, why are the most needy members of the public being sacrificed so that we can thump our chest about being cashless?

Technology should never be the objective.

Technology should be a tool to improve the quality of life for everyone.

And to that end, technology is not the only tool.

The Pioneer Generation Office for example, realised that most seniors are not comfortable with going online and so have deployed volunteers to go house-to-house - thus using a high human touch rather than a high-tech method to good effect (Expanded drive to find out what Singapore seniors need; Feb 19).

While I recognise there are costs to handle cash, surely there are also charges being levied by Nets and other cashless service providers.

Why the urgency to do away with cash top-ups by 2020?

The decision-makers at the Land Transport Authority and TransitLink are likely to be tech-savvy people who appreciate going cashless, but I hope their hearts are big enough to keep our public transport as an inclusive service for all.

Tan Yi Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'No need to be heartless in drive to go cashless'. Print Edition | Subscribe