Express Transit on iPhone & Apple Watch arrives for Washington DC Metro riders

Posted:
in General Discussion
The SmarTrip Metro Card used in the Washington DC metro area is launching on iPhone and Apple Watch with a dedicated Apple Wallet setup option and new iOS app.

SmarTrip launches on iPhone and Apple Watch with Express Transit
SmarTrip launches on iPhone and Apple Watch with Express Transit


The SmarTrip Metro card is the first of its kind in North America, integrating contactless payments, digital management, Express Transit features, and easy sign-up directly within Apple Wallet. Similar systems have been popularized in Hong Kong or the London Underground.

Like other cards used for transit within Apple Wallet, the SmarTrip Metro Card can be set up for Express Transit within the card settings. When using a card with Express Transit, users can tap their phone to a payment terminal without needing to confirm payment with biometrics such as Touch ID or Face ID. If your iPhone battery dies, the Express Transit card will still work for up to five hours after the battery is exhausted.

The SmarTrip Metro card can be used at all 91 Metrorail stations in DC, Maryland and Virginia; all Metro parking garages and lots; all Metrobus routes; and all regional bus providers, including ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Cue, Ride On, TheBus, Circulator, Loudoun County Transit, and Potomac and Rappahannock Transit/PRTC.

New option in adding a card in Apple Wallet for a quick and easy setup
New option in adding a card in Apple Wallet for a quick and easy setup


The setup process is simple, and keeps users safe with a totally digital experience. No need to seek out a terminal to add funds or get new passes.

Adding a SmarTrip card to Apple Wallet

  1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone and tap the plus button.
  2. Choose SmarTrip under Transit Cards
  3. Enter an amount to add to your SmarTrip.
  4. Confrim the purchase.
  5. Your SmarTrip card is now in Apple Wallet, ready for use.
"We are excited to deliver a new level of convenience and simplicity for our customers. If you have an iPhone or Apple Watch, you already have everything you need to simply tap and go," said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "In every step in the customer journey, SmarTrip on iPhone and Apple Watch makes it simpler, easier, faster, safer... just better."

In addition to the new card in Apple Wallet, an iOS app will let users manage their card balance and take advantage of special offers.

SmarTrip is available on any iPhone 8 or newer and Apple Watch Sereis 3 or newer.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    Well that's exciting.  Too bad there are tens of thousands of people like me who haven't commuted into DC for 6 months and might end up permanent, full-time teleworkers.  But someday I'll probably get to use this.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 249member
    Why couldn’t you simply drain funds from the Apple Cash balance?  Is there an architectural or payment processing problem that would prevent it?
  • Reply 3 of 6
    dcgoo said:
    Why couldn’t you simply drain funds from the Apple Cash balance?  Is there an architectural or payment processing problem that would prevent it?
    Good question.  I expect it was a compromise between Apple and WMATA.  Remember this is debiting $$ without any biometrics or authentication.  This way there is a limit to the risk in case of a mishap (only the amount you have "loaded.")

    It's not unlike the (also somewhat annoying) way Chic-fil-A handles payment through their app.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    dcgoo said:
    Why couldn’t you simply drain funds from the Apple Cash balance?  Is there an architectural or payment processing problem that would prevent it?

    Using funds from Apple Cash through the digital SmarTrip card would not allow commuters with employer-paid benefits (i.e., free or subsidized Metro) to pull from their benefits balance. If you want to use Apple Card (the credit card), you can reload your digital SmarTrip card via Apple Pay, using the Apple Card or the Apple Cash digital card as the default source of payments. The Washington use of Express Transit differs from London's current setup, for example, is that London's Underground will pull from whatever (credit/debit) card in Wallet that is set as default for Express Transit. I don't see a way for Londoners to use transit benefits like Washingtonians can.

    docno42
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Good to see U.S. transit starting to join the 21st century.     
  • Reply 6 of 6
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,660member
    Using funds from Apple Cash through the digital SmarTrip card would not allow commuters with employer-paid benefits (i.e., free or subsidized Metro) to pull from their benefits balance.
    Yup, integration with transit benefits is significant.  I’m pleasantly surprised to see this coming in my lifetime, even if as others said it’s currently unneeded.  I can’t wait to pay with my watch when going into the office does once again become a thing!
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