Apple Watch and iPhone users can now use Apple Pay Express Transit to pay for buses, trams, and the Underground in London. The feature allows the city’s commuters to purchase transit fare without Touch ID or Face ID authentication (or a double click of the Apple Watch), thereby allowing them to pass through turnstiles and board transit a little more quickly. Apple Pay will still require biometric authentication for all other purchases.
Apple Pay Express Transit was first introduced with iOS 12.3, but is only compatible with transit networks that have agreed to support the service. The platform is currently available to passengers using Japan’s Suica cards, the MTA in New York, the TriMet in Portland, and Chinese transit cards in Beijing and Shanghai.
To use Express Transit, riders must first enable Express Mode in their settings, and then swipe their device (an Apple Watch or anything newer than the iPhone 6s) at one of the city’s yellow contactless terminals. The feature itself will still function when the battery is low, and can enable cross-city travel for up to five hours after the appearance of the red Power Reserve icon.
The Transport for London office introduced support for Apple Pay back in 2015. Samsung Pay and Google Pay have also worked to make their platforms more useful to commuters in recent months. The former is now available in New York and Portland, while the latter has been integrated into Melbourne’s transit system.