SmarTrip cards for the Washington DC Metro system now support Apple Pay – including Express Transit.
That means you can now just hold your iPhone or Apple Watch close to the SmarTrip card readers, without any need for authentication …
NBC Washington reports.
Commuters in the Washington, D.C., area can now choose to add their SmarTrip card to their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay the fare on Metro trains, buses and regional transit lines.
The new Apple Pay option starts working on Tuesday, giving transit riders options in addition to physical SmarTrip cards, regional transit cards and cash, Metro says […]
The new service works anywhere SmarTrip cards are accepted, Metro says. That includes 91 Metro stations across D.C., Maryland and Virginia; Metro parking lots and garages; all Metrobuses and regional bus providers: ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Cue, Ride On, TheBus, Circulator, Loudoun County Transit and Potomac and Rappahannock Transit/PRTC.
Because the service works across all forms of public transit, Metro claims that makes it the first city in the US to offer Apple Pay ‘as a universal transit payment option.’
Express Transit support means you just hold your phone or watch close to the reader, with no need to use Face ID or Touch ID to confirm, and no need to double-click the side button on an Apple Watch.
You can transfer the balance from your existing card just by adding the card, entering the details and then holding the phone against the card as shown in the video below.
Note that this will disable your physical card. However, Express Transit works even when your phone or watch are in low-power mode, so you only need to worry about running out of power if you completely empty your battery.
You can top up the electronic version of your card in two ways. First, from a debit or credit card registered for Apple Pay. Second, using the new SmarTrip app, which lets you add funds to a card, buy passes, and manage multiple cards.
I found Express Transit was a tiny feature that made a big difference to the ease of getting around a city. Check out our How To guide for setting it up.
Card transfer photo: @txcau