The iPhone can already be used to ride on several public transit systems around the world, thanks to Apple's Wallet app and NFC technology.
But, by default, this requires authorization via Touch ID, Face ID or passcode every time you want to pass through a ticket barrier, or board a bus, making the whole process feel less seamless.
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Now though, an increasing number of public transit systems work with a new iPhone feature called Express Transit mode.
When enabled, this mode lets you pass through barriers and pay for bus rides by simply holding your iPhone against the NFC reader. There's no need to wake or unlock the phone, and it even works for up to five hours after the phone's battery has died.
As of February 2020, here is where you can now use Express Transit mode:
- New York City - Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) at select stations
- Portland - All forms of transit that accept Hop Fastpass
- London - All transit operated by Transport for London (TfL)
- All forms of transit that accept Suica
- Beijing - Beijing Transit virtual card added to the Wallet app
- Shanghai - Shanghai Transit virtual card added to the Wallet app
Enabling Express Transit for iPhoneGearBrain
To enable Express Transit, follow these instructions:
- Open the Settings app of your iPhone
- Tap on Wallet & Apple Pay
- Scroll down to the Travel Cards section and tap Express Travel Card
- Tap on the payment card you want to use with Express Pay
The same card (or device) must be used to start and end a public transit journey, and Apple reminds users to keep their iPhone away from contactless payment cards, to prevent the wrong one from being used.
Locations which don't yet work with Express Pay, but can still be used with an iPhone after using Touch ID or Face ID, include:
- Sydney - Transport for NSW
- Vancouver - TransLink
- Guangzhou - UnionPay credit cards
- Hangzhou - UnionPay credit and debit cards
- Moscow - Moscow Metro
- Saint Petersburg
- Land Transport Authority (LTA)
- Chicago - Ventra system