December 2, 2019 12:01:00 AM
Apple has introduced a feature to its mobile payment system allowing London commuters to travel more seamlessly without needing to prepare their device.
The tech giant is also dealing with the worry of battery loss mid-journey on TfL, giving the iPhone and Apple Watch the ability to tap out up to five hours after they have powered down.
Until now, those using Apple Pay needed to use Face ID or Touch ID as authentication before tapping the reader to make journeys.
But in busy London Underground stations in particular, it was susceptible to creating hold ups as people activated their devices.
With Express Transit mode enabled, people travelling across the TfL network are no longer required to “pre-arm” their device, making it as smooth as using a contactless bank card.
A notification is being sent out to users in the London area making them aware of the feature, which will work on any iPhone from the 6S and SE onwards.
Tapping out when battery has run out will only work from the iPhone XS or Apple Watch series 4 and later.
The move comes as one in five contactless journeys across TfL are now made using a smart device.
“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,” explained Mike Tuckett, head of transformation delivery for TfL.
“We’re just trying to sweep that away and make it super simple.”
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.
It’s the first time Express Transit has been enabled in the UK, after countries including China and Japan, as well as a trial in New York.