Marking a leap forward for mobile transit payments, Apple announced today that Apple Pay will be coming to bus, light rail and subway systems in select U.S. cities later this year. Chicago, Portland (Oregon) and New York City will pioneer the service, which will allow passengers to pay fares with their iPhone instead of paper tickets or transit cards.
Apple Pay transit payments are already available in Beijing and Shanghai, and a growing number of cities across the U.S. either use similar systems or are preparing to bring them online. Just last week, Google announced that riders will be able to board the Las Vegas Monorail using Google Pay on Android phones.
In Portland, the Apple Pay service will integrate with the Hop Fastpass, a payment system enabled by INIT, TriMet and Moovel, the Daimler mobility company that has its U.S. headquarters in Portland.
Riders can currently use Apple Pay linked to a debit or credit card, said Roberta Altstadt, a spokesperson for TriMet, Portland’s regional transit agency. “When the new system comes out,” she said, “you will actually add the Hop card into Apple Wallet.”
The Hop Fastpass allows people to accrue benefits each time they ride. Once riders have paid the cost of a monthly pass in rides ($100 for an adult pass), any additional rides are free. Those benefits have been limited to adult fare riders and will be expanded to senior citizen fares when the Apple Pay system comes online this spring, Altstadt said. She did not specify a date.
An Apple spokesperson did not immediately return requests for comment.
Apple’s announcement builds on a wave of smart phone-based transit payments.
New York City, for example, is moving away from MetroCards in favor of riders tapping their smart phones at the turnstiles.
The Los Angeles Metro system is planning a one-stop mobile payment system encompassing bike-share, microtransit, electric vehicle sharing and charging, ride-hailing and parking.
Portland is planning a similar roll out.