Apple Express Transit Mode expanding to new networks in 2020

It’s good news for travelers; Apple Pay’s new Express Transit Mode is coming to new networks in 2020, as Apple and local authorities look to streamline traveling with an iPhone.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has confirmed that it will support Apple Pay with Express Transit Mode from 2020, though it did not confirm a specific time of year.

At some point in 2020, travelers in Washington, D.C. will be able to add a SmarTrip fare card to their iPhone Wallet app, and then use their iPhone or Apple Watch near a contactless reader at Metrorail stations and Metrobus buses to tap in and out of their journies.

Apple is also expected to support Shenzhen Tong and Lingnan Pass fare cards in 2020, one of the biggest expansions of Apple Pay and the Express Transit feature in China to date.

Rather than having to unlock their phones using Face ID or Touch ID and then activate the Wallet feature, Express Transit Mode allows users to tap and go – no need to unlock or wake their phone, increasing the convenience of traveling using an iPhone and improving safety.

The news comes just weeks after Transport for London began its rollout of the Express Transit Mode on its system. New York has also begun to roll out the feature at Penn Station, with more hubs expected to introduce the tab-and-go technology in the coming months.

How does Express Transit Mode work?

In order to use the new Express Mode, customers simply need to look for the yellow contactless card reader and scan their phone or Apple Watch, though they must set up the new technology beforehand. Anyone with an iPhone 6S or above can take advantage by heading to their Settings menu, scrolling to Wallet & Apple Pay, tapping Express Travel Card, and choosing a preferred card, and future journeys will be invoiced to that card. It’s also possible to set up Express Mode for Apple Watch, removing the need to double click the side button to turn on Apple Pay mode. Instead, users can hold their watch to the terminal.

How safe is Express Transit Mode?

Of course, it’s important to note that Express Mode is less secure than the usual Apple Pay method – anyone who has access to your Apple Watch or iPhone will be able to pay for their journey using the device, though Face ID and Touch ID would still be required for all other Apple Pay purchases, whether that’s a quick coffee before work or the weekly grocery haul.

Do you need battery?

And if you’re running low on juice, Apple has a solution. On the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, users can switch to power reserve with their Express Transit cards, enabling them to quickly pay for rides. Apple says that this feature is available for up to five hours when an iPhone needs to be changed, though the phone must have some juice left in its battery or an alternative must be used.

Express Transit Mode is already supported in Portland, Shanghai, and Japan, and it’s great to see the feature beginning to roll out across more hubs around the world, streamlining travel and allowing consumers to use their devices rather than purchase tickets on the go.

Are you looking forward to seeing the feature come to a transport hub near you? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and check back soon for more news and rumors.

About the Author

Everything Apple, every day. This post was written by an AppleMagazine newsroom writer.