If you are in London, you can now travel using Apple Pay on the Underground network without having to use Touch ID or Face ID authentication.
This means that you don’t need to hold up the queue at the turnstile when travelling the Underground. You can simply tap and go with either iPhone or Apple Watch.
Express Transit has been a feature since iOS 12.3 but it requires partnerships with the transit networks in order for the feature to work. Apple announced the new support for the London Underground today with a new web page and sending out notifications to iPhone and Apple Watch users in the United Kingdom.
One particularly interesting detail about Express Mode is that it enables a special Power Reserve state for your iPhone or Apple Watch. When your device is set up for Express Mode, and its battery is close to depletion, iOS and watchOS will automatically save a certain amount of power so you can still use your device for transit access for another five hours after Power Reserve kicks in. This will undoubtedly reduce a lot of anxiety for people who regularly deplete their battery, and would otherwise want to keep an alternate transit access method as a backup. Power Reserve is available on the iPhone XR and newer, and Apple Watch Series 4 and newer.
Even setting aside Power Reserve, the convenience of no longer needing to pre-authenticate with Express Mode is a significant user experience improvement for transit customers. The feature’s also available in my home of New York City, but only in an extremely limited rollout; I can’t wait for it to be part of my daily commute.