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Apple has upgraded payments on the Tube meaning that people can move faster through the barriers.

London has joined the elite thanks to Apple triggering its Express Transit feature for the Tube, bus, overground and tram services. It’s the first time Express Transit has been used in the UK.

Apple Pay has taken longer than contactless and Google Pay because of the tech company’s use of biometric data to authenticate payment, via FaceID or TouchID. Express Transit means customers can designate a specific card for travel payment, skipping the authentication step, saving valuable seconds and the inevitable eye-rolling of the guy behind.

Here’s how to set up Apple Express Transit

  1. Go to Settings on the iPhone
  2. Select Wallet & Apple Pay
  3. Scroll down and you will see “Express Travel Card” under a new section named Travel Cards
  4. Click and select which card you would like to be your Apple travel card

Which devices are compatible?

The iPhone SE, 6S and later devices as well as Apple Watch. The top-end iPhones XS or XR and above have an extra trick up their sleeves. If your phone runs out of battery, you can still use Apple Pay for up to five hours.

Other transactions using Apple Pay will still need to be authenticated in the usual way, using Face ID or Touch ID before making a purchase.

Are we all going contactless?

Nearly 25 million journeys in and around London are made using contactless every week – that’s about half – and about five million of them are by smartphone or smartwatch. At Oxford Circus, that’s the equivalent of 50 contactless transactions every minute.

Speaking about the launch of Express Transit, Mike Tuckett, head of customer payments at TfL, told the Evening Standard: “It’s great that we have been able to work with Apple to introduce Express Transit on Apple Pay for bus, Tube and rail journeys in London.

“Through our pay as you go fares system, we are committed to making travelling by public transport in London as simple and convenient as possible.”

Give us some made-up figures for the hell of it

There are roughly five million smartphone payments a week. Around 40% of smartphones are iPhones. If each iPhone saved a second through Express Transit, that’s the equivalent of 23 days – or the amount of time you have to wait at Bank for a train that isn’t packed to the gills.

Where else is Express Transit happening?

China mainland


  • All forms of transit that accept Suica

United States

What about Apple Pay for transit with Express Transit mode?




  • Vancouver: TransLink


China mainland

  • Guangzhou: UnionPay (CUP) credit cards
  • Hangzhou: UnionPay (CUP) credit and debit cards

United States

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