Apple Pay on Public Transit

Would you use Apple Pay / NFC for Public Transit?

  • Yes

    Votes: 10 90.9%
  • No

    Votes: 1 9.1%

  • Total voters
    11
  • Poll closed .

kingpushup

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 24, 2013
218
229
Back in January, Apple Pay and SFMTA/Muni announced that NFC payments would arrive this summer.

Does anyone have an update here, or have we gleaned information from a related story that could explain this delay for NFC on public transit?

Very curious! Thanks in advance :)
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,741
3,689
San Jose, CA
I have no new information, but just voted "yes". ;) I'd love that. While we're at it, having an electronic Clipper Card on the phone would be cool, although it's currently not possible due to limitations in iOS.
 

kingpushup

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 24, 2013
218
229
I have no new information, but just voted "yes". ;) I'd love that. While we're at it, having an electronic Clipper Card on the phone would be cool, although it's currently not possible due to limitations in iOS.
Clipper Card (collective Bay Area services) on Apple Pay was exactly my ultimate wish! Tried to generalize for other markets.

What's the limitation for Clipper, and does that also limit individual services such as only the Muni?
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,741
3,689
San Jose, CA
What's the limitation for Clipper, and does that also limit individual services such as only the Muni?
Well, currently iOS only uses the NFC hardware to mimick RFID payment cards for Apple Pay. It basically just transmits payment data unidirectionally.

The Clipper Card is much more complex, since it stores things like card balances, passes and trip histories on the card's chip (this is necessary so you can use it offline when there is no Internet connectivity). This information is constantly updated whenever you tap the card to a terminal, so it's a bidirectional exchange. This functionality doesn't exist in iOS. It's also not possible to write an app for it, since iOS currently has no APIs to allow apps to access the NFC hardware or the secure enclave to protect the encryption keys. So it's not likely that we'll get the full functionality of the Clipper Card anytime soon.

One thing that would probably be easier to do is to allow the use of Apple Pay on buses etc. for paying the fare, perhaps in combination with a special payment card.
 

Warbrain

macrumors 603
Jun 28, 2004
5,701
287
Chicago, IL
It all depends on the system in your area and whether or not they provide the same full benefits to a NFC-enabled device/card or their transit branded cards. Here, with Ventra and the CTA, it's so murky and convoluted that I can't figure out what benefits I would miss out on other than potentially not getting free transfers. I'll keep my Ventra card for this reason alone because it's confusing.
 

dallardice

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2008
162
51
As AFEPPL says above, Apple Pay is live on London public transport (TfL, Transport for London). I use Apple Pay most days on TfL buses - the sensor is on the left side as you get on a bus, so for me it's "on the right side", and it saves me having to get a card out my pocket. On the London Underground (which I use infrequently), the sensors are on the right, which means that if I want to use my watch, I have to stretch over my body which is an uncomfortable manoeuvre, so I use my contactless card. I get about a 95% success rate using Apple Pay on my watch, which is good, but not good enough that I feel completely relaxed about using it, especially in rush hour.

TfL have implemented the same pricing to contactless cards (and Apple Pay) as they do to their proprietary card, Oyster, so there are no financial benefits or disbenefits to using Apple Pay (as long as you use the same payment method over a period of time so that any capping/transfer algorithm knows that you are the same user). So for me it comes down to convenience, and simply it's easy to use on a bus and not on the tube.
 

Mr.C

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2011
4,412
553
London, UK.
I don't use ApplePay on the buses and London Underground simply because I have a monthly pass on my Oyster card for trains and buses between zones 4 and 2. If I need to travel outside those zones on the trains I just top up the Oyster card. I'm not really keen on using ApplePay during rush hour incase it fails.

Speaking of using ApplePay on the trains I remember a few month ago I tried to use my watch when arriving at my destination on one of the sensors and this woman came up who seemed to be in a hurry and pushed my hand out of the way when I was trying to pay. She obviously didn't realise I was trying to pay using ApplePay on my watch. None the less it was really annoying and I told her she was being rude and inconsiderate as I was trying to pay. She just gave me a funny look and carried on touching her Oyster card on the sensor and then just walked off. It was typical ignorance as far as I was concerned.
 

neil_cm17

macrumors member
Oct 26, 2015
43
7
United Kingdom
I've used in on the London Underground a few times. I've had a couple of instances where it hasn't worked and the barriers reported a 'seek assistance' error. I would be extremely reluctant to use during peak time as it's not 100% reliable and it's just easily to pull and use a contactless credit / debit card.
 

markhort

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2010
1,081
605
UK
I've tried a couple of times using ApplePay on the London Underground, but as others have said the readers are on the wrong side for me using the Apple Watch. Also it seem slightly slower than using a contactless card or Oyster.