Apple Pay's Express Transit Mode Working in Parts of London Underground

While not yet reflected on Apple's website, Apple Pay's Express Transit mode has been functional on at least some tube and bus routes in London since last Tuesday or so, according to multiple MacRumors readers.

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One reader said the Express Transit mode works on Transport for London's U5 bus route between Hayes and Uxbridge, as well as at the Ealing Broadway and Farringdon stations serving the London Underground and National Rail. Not all stations support Express Transit mode yet, so this could be early testing.

Despite this, Transport for London has advised customers that Express Transit mode is "not currently an option" as recently as Thursday, although it said it is having "positive discussions with Apple" about enabling the feature. Apple and Transport for London did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Express Transit mode eliminates the need for users to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode or even wake their device when they pay for rides with Apple Pay. Simply hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the contactless reader until you feel a vibration and payment has been completed.

Apple Pay with Express Transit mode is also available in New York City, Portland, Beijing, Shanghai, and where Suica is accepted in Japan.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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2 weeks ago


It take seconds to authenticate Apple Pay either via Face ID or Touch ID... are we seriously becoming that lazy?

Seconds add up in public transit applications. You want it to move as fast as possible
Rating: 14 Votes
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2 weeks ago


It take seconds to authenticate Apple Pay either via Face ID or Touch ID... are we seriously becoming that lazy?


Try getting stuck behind someone if their TouchID doesn't authenticate when you have thousands of people moving through the gates every hour.
Rating: 9 Votes
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2 weeks ago


It take seconds to authenticate Apple Pay either via Face ID or Touch ID... are we seriously becoming that lazy?


Seconds add up in public transit applications. You want it to move as fast as possible


To add, it's actually a safety issue, not being "lazy".

The gateline is a funnel point and they are engineered to allow a certain number of people per minute to pass through smoothly. Stations are engineered with this flow capacity, from the street entrance all the way down to the platforms and trains.

Stoppages and backups can lead to overcrowding, then stampedes and crushing which have resulted in death. If an exit line causes backups all the way down to a platform, somebody could fall in front of a train and be killed.

If people have to use Face ID, adding seconds per person, that represents a significant drop in capacity and would have to re-engineer stations and gatelines to accommodate.
Rating: 7 Votes
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2 weeks ago


So how does this work while it's only rolled out at certain stations? If I tap-in at a participating station with my iPhone, what happens if my exit station isn't yet supporting it?


You would be charged the maximum fare for a journey starting at that station. But you would also be unable to leave your exit station so would start a new life as a mole person living on the garbage discarded by non-Apple Pay travellers.
Rating: 6 Votes
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2 weeks ago


It take seconds to authenticate Apple Pay either via Face ID or Touch ID... are we seriously becoming that lazy?


living in Japan, it would be considered selfish and ignorant to use anything other than Express Transit mode's automatic features.
needing to authentic yourself and use directly an EMV type of payment in a transit wicket that is not set up as your Express Transit card is a horrendous way to travel and prone to errors and delays.
3 seconds in a transit wicket is a lot of people behind you wondering what problem you are having with your ticket/payment, and they are shifting to other wickets en masse to avoid being delayed by you.
Japan National Railway and Tokyo Metro's targets for when they began to institute cashless systems was/is 0.3 seconds. not 3 seconds.
and whether for transit or for ID cards, you really should have a modern iPhone model with the ability to have power reserve so that even when your iPhone is registering as no battery (with the dreaded red bar on a battery) your dorm ID card or train ticket will still get you into your building or off the train at your destination station.
Rating: 6 Votes
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2 weeks ago


To add, it's actually a safety issue, not being "lazy".

The gateline is a funnel point and they are engineered to allow a certain number of people per minute to pass through smoothly. Stations are engineered with this flow capacity, from the street entrance all the way down to the platforms and trains.

Stoppages and backups can lead to overcrowding, then stampedes and crushing which have resulted in death.

If people have to use Face ID, adding seconds per person, that represents a significant drop in capacity and would have to re-engineer stations and gatelines to accommodate.


Not to mention that after some period of time there’s inevitably an instance when Face ID doesn’t authenticate. I can’t think of any public transportation system in the world where I’d want to be at the turnstile fumbling to re-authenticate with a long line of busy travelers behind me.
Rating: 6 Votes
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2 weeks ago


It’s also available in Australia (at least in NSW) and has been for quite a while now.

That is incorrect
Rating: 5 Votes
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2 weeks ago


Ok so let’s all just hope hackers out there don’t discover a way to fake their own “Express Transit” to start siphoning our money just like our contactless bank cards are exposed nowadays ☺??‍♂️

It seems you don't know how transit works. It doesn't take money out of your card. It CANNOT take money out of your card, because when you enter the underground, nobody knows where you are going to leave, so nobody knows how much your are supposed to pay.

Instead, TfL (transport for London) registers an event "Lahmy88 went inside Underground station X", later "Lahmy left Underground station Y", "Lahmy jumped on Bus Z", "Lahmy entered train station A", "Lahmy left train station B". At the end of the day, they collect the data, figure out how you travelled (this includes the possibility that some gate was missed), calculate your total bill for your card, and take it out of your account which includes a card that you must have registered with TfL.

Express Transit _never_ authorises any payment. It just gathers the location data. The payment authorisation comes from your contract with TfL.
Rating: 4 Votes
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2 weeks ago
As a Londoner myself, most of us who live & work in London and use public transport to commute have a travelcard on an Oyster. Contactless is a great option for homeworkers, those who don’t commute every day, and of course tourists, but to suggest that TfL are on the cusp of phasing out Oyster is a bit premature: the throngs of us who have travelcards on our Oysters can’t be served any other way at the moment, and we are a rather large constituency.



When it’s rush hour, and you have hundreds of people behind you, even TouchID is slower than using contactless on a bank card. I welcome this feature.


If only people would figure out that Touch ID and Face ID can be authenticated before arriving at the gateline, Apple Pay would be just as fast as using a physical EMV card. D’oh.
Rating: 4 Votes
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2 weeks ago


Japan is the land of the overcomplicated poor-UX solution. I can use contactless and draw from my main credit/bank account without dealing with the hassles of recharging a separate quasi-bank account.


Spoken like someone who hasn't lived in Japan.

Or who doesn't commute to work on public transit.

And there are no "hassles" to deal with when it comes to recharging a transit card like Suica: you just turn on auto recharge in the Wallet app and it'll recharge itself from your credit card.

That gives you the double benefit of not having to think about how much is on the card, in addition to having access to commuter passes with the benefits of weekly and monthly travel plans. In Japan, these commuter passes are usually paid for by your employer.

To suggest that native transit cards are inferior to using credit/debit cards is to show a lack of knowledge about how people use cards like Suica, Oyster, etc in real life. What are you going to do, give your 11 year old a credit card to ride the train to school?

I'm out of this thread. There's no point trying to have a discussion with a "forum expert" who has no real world experience of the subject matter.
Rating: 4 Votes
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