Apple Pay just got a London bus and Tube upgrade

Apple Pay just got a London bus and Tube upgrade

Walk through in turn-style

CONTACTLESS PAYMENT CAN seem magical, but the joy is somehow lost when the magician in question is holding up the queue gurning into their iPhone, having not bothered to do so ahead of time.

TfL has just made the whole Apple Pay experience considerably more painless by enabling Apple’s Express Transit feature. iPhone and Apple Watch owners in the London area are being sent notifications telling them that they no longer have to pre-arm the device ahead of the barrier – which will probably raise a shrug from the kind of jerk you’re normally stuck behind, but hey ho.

The iPhone 6S and SE and later will work with the new feature, but more excitingly, certain devices will now work up to five hours after their battery has emptied. If you’ve ever failed to explain away a dead battery to sceptical TfL staff at the tube barrier, you’ll know how useful this will be – though it only works with the iPhone XS/Apple Watch 4 and later.

“It is a step change in the way we think about how to charge people, the notion of having to understand what ticket you need, do I need an Oyster Card,” said Mike Tuckett, the head of transformation delivery at TfL. “We’re just trying to sweep that away and make it super simple.”

You can use Express Transit on the Tube, bus or trams – basically anywhere there’s a yellow Oyster Card reader. London isn’t the first place to get this – it’s already appeared in the MTA in New York, the Hop Fastpass in Portland, the Suica transit in Japan, and in parts of Beijing and Shanghai.

This is just for TfL services for the moment, so don’t get cocky and hold up the queue in Tesco because you haven’t prepped your iPhone before getting your Coco Pops. µ

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