Apple Pay is up and running in the UK, but it has some hurdles to get over when it comes to public transit. Transport for London is warning users about a number of potential issues that could arise when they rely on the mPayment service to pay their way through the London Underground, or on buses and trains.
The biggest issue appears to be power-related. Users who tap their iPhones to get onto the tube, for example, and then see their iPhones run out of power before finishing their trips won’t be able to tap off when they exit the subway, meaning they’ll be subject to penalties. But there’s a litany of other issues, too: ‘Issues’ that could arise from having both an iPhone and an Apple Watch (which requires iPhone pairing); getting a call while trying to pay; using multiple cards on one Apple Pay account; and flat-out rejection for foreign travelers, whose Apple Pay accounts may not be compatible. Some users have also had difficulty using their iPhones’ fingerprint authentication when trying to use Apple Pay after spending a sweaty hour on the tube, but that’s beyond any authorities’ control.
Given the host of technical issues, one might wonder why TfL incorporated Apple Pay at all. The answer is probably that TfL and Apple Pay had to go forward with an imperfect rollout, or not at all; Apple’s efforts to launch its mPayment service in the country involved negotiations with hundreds of merchants and all the major banks, and in at least one case the negotiations were pretty strenuous. The company was keen to get as many organizations on board as possible prior to the rollout, and TfL probably didn’t want to be left out, or criticized by passengers for not offering the service. Of course, now TfL is going to face criticism for these technical issues, but that’s the nature of public transit in a big city: In the constant battle between passengers and the transit service, nobody wins.
Source: The Guardian