Apple and Transport for London (TfL) have announced the ability to use Apple’s Express Transit feature of Apple Pay with London’s entire transit network.
With the Express Transit feature, Apple Pay users can now simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch against one of TfL’s transit terminals to pay for their ride, without the need for Touch or Face ID biometric authentication for every use, making it more like the Google Pay platform, or Samsung’s Tap&Pay system.
This is being touted as a time-saving feature for transit riders, as it eliminates the extra step of having to authenticate when paying to get on a tram, train, bus or the underground tube network in London.
“Apple Express Pay is available anywhere served by pay as you go with contactless in London (including national rail stations in London),” said a TfL spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.
Express Transit became available at the end of May this year in iOS 12.3 and was ready for use with New York City’s MTA. Shortly after the launch, TfL announced its plans to roll the feature out for its own network, eventually leading to today’s announcement.
Transit riders use the Express Transit feature by selecting a specific default card in the Apple Pay app for their transit rides. This card is separate from their default card for all other payments, which will still require Touch ID or Face ID authentication for normal use.
If their phone is lost or stolen, users can remotely lock their card to avoid having someone else use it to ride public transit.
Apple also says that Express Transit will work for up to 5 hours after the red Power Reserve icon appears on an Apple Watch or iPhone, allowing users who may be working late or simply out for a long night to not worry about being unable to pay for their ride home.
In addition to the TfL network in London and the MTA in New York, Express Transit is also ready for use with transit networks in Japan, Portland, and in China in both Beijing and Shanghai.