Hands-free fare gates being tried out at four MRT stations

ST VIDEO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
LTA project manager Serena Ong demonstrates the use of the hands-free fare gate, which allows disabled commuters to enter and exit MRT stations without tapping their fare cards.
LTA project manager Serena Ong demonstrates the use of the hands-free fare gate, which allows disabled commuters to enter and exit MRT stations without tapping their fare cards.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new hands-free fare gate that allows people with disabilities to enter and exit MRT stations without tapping their fare cards has gone on trial at Bedok, Kembangan, Redhill and Tiong Bahru stations.

At these gates, commuters can pay their fares using a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device with a particular application or a radio-frequency identification test card instead. The device and card do not need to be put in close contact with the fare reader and can be kept in a bag or a pocket.

On Friday (June 22), Senior Minister of State for Transport, Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary launched the new fare gate at Redhill MRT station, as part of a trial at the four stations.

From June to November, 22 commuters in wheelchairs and 28 LTA staff will be able to use the 0.9m gate as part of their daily travel, under the initiative by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and ST Engineering.

The commuters in wheelchairs were chosen by the LTA from organisations such as SG Enable and voluntary welfare organisation SPD. Redhill and Tiong Bahru stations were chosen for their proximity to the two organisations.

Fare cards currently in use, such as ez-link, require commuters to place them in close proximity to fare readers.

The new hands-free fare gates will make commuting by train easier for the physically challenged, the elderly and those with children in strollers. They will not need to pause to fish out fare cards and struggle to pass through the gates before they close.

During the trial, LTA will work with industry partners such as ST Engineering to assess the feasibility of the gate. It will then decide whether the gate can be used on a wider scale.

The trial gates are part of ongoing efforts to make the rail system more inclusive. A trial for hands-free ticketing technology on buses will take place towards the end of the year.