Apple Pay With Express Transit Mode Coming to D.C. Metro and More Chinese Cities in 2020

Apple Pay with Express Transit mode is coming to the Washington Metro in 2020, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced today. No specific timeline has been provided yet.

Starting next year, riders in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will be able to add their reloadable SmarTrip fare card to the Wallet app and simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a contactless payment reader at Metrorail stations or on Metrobus buses to pay their fare.

smartrip dc metro apple pay express transit mode
Express Transit mode allows for tap-and-go payment, eliminating the need to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. The device does not need to be waked or unlocked, either.

This announcement comes less than two weeks after Transport for London rolled out Apple Pay with Express Transit mode across its system. Apple Pay with Express Transit mode is also rolling out to 85 additional MTA stations in New York City this month, including the busy hub of Penn Station.

Express Transit mode is also supported in Portland, Beijing, Shanghai, and Japan.

Update: As noted by the blog Ata Distance, Apple Pay support for the Shenzhen Tong and Lingnan Pass fare cards is also planned for 2020. This will mark a major expansion of Apple Pay across transit systems in Shenzhen and several other cities in the Chinese province of Guangdong.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Top Rated Comments

hsoj1006 Avatar
59 months ago
This is great news for someone like me who takes Metro often in DC. I absolutely hate taking out my wallet in the Metro Stations (some are SUPER shady). If I can just scan my Apple Watch, I am good with that!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
squirrelist Avatar
59 months ago
It sounds like you still have to have a SmarTrip account rather than just charge the account of whatever credit card you choose like New York is doing. It would have been great for tourists if they could just pay for the rides with their credit card rather than create an account with a balance that you will probably not fully deplete. But I'm sure a major source of income for WMATA is cards that get loaded with money that doesn't get used up.

The other thing that will make this annoying is every time you travel between New York and DC you'll have to go into your phone settings and swap the selected transit card.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
incoherent_1 Avatar
59 months ago
Now we just need a half functional transit system in DC and we’ll be all set!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
squirrelist Avatar
59 months ago

Does this get you through the turnstile, or just allow to pay with your phone? I travel a lot to D.C. and I have a collection of metro cards that cost me $2 each because I keep forgetting to bring the card. It would be great to not need the card at all, just wave your phone at the turnstile.
There don't seem to be any details released yet, but yes, this seems to be a replacement for the physical card. Apple's "Express Transit" feature allows you to assign a card in the Settings app on your iPhone or Watch (XS/XR, Watch Series 4 or higher, I believe) that doesn't require authentication, but just for certain transit agencies, not for general purchases. So no need to pull up Wallet or authenticate. You just tap the phone or watch like you would your physical card. I'm looking forward to this too because I lived in DC until last month and I'll be traveling back often for work. I almost forgot to put my SmarTrip card in my wallet before I came back recently.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Vanilla35 Avatar
59 months ago
Holy **** it's about time. I've been waiting like 7 years for this.


Does this get you through the turnstile, or just allow to pay with your phone? I travel a lot to D.C. and I have a collection of metro cards that cost me $2 each because I keep forgetting to bring the card. It would be great to not need the card at all, just wave your phone at the turnstile.
It's described as being able to be used at the turnstile, which means we can finally rid ourselves of our awful physical metro card, and needing to take your wallet out every day to get to it.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dontwalkhand Avatar
59 months ago

agreed!
being able to use Suica for literally all small payments almost everywhere was a cashless breakthrough.
(its all rather confusing to me still. i wonder if Express Pay is the best term to use for this? maybe Express Card?)
The official terminology is Express Transit Card. Though in the case of Japan, it’s used for more than transit.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)