I’m an iPhone user and very much like it. That doesn’t stop me believing that Apple products are generally over-priced compared to similarly specced hardware. Given this, the recent introduction of Apple Pay made me chuckle. You can use your Apple Watch instead of an Oyster card for travelling around London’s transport system. The £20 daily limit is fine and allows a daily travelcard to be used without recourse to a proper ticket.
Transport for London (TfL), which oversees all tickets, has issued guidance on using your Apple Watch but there seems to be a potential problem. The Apple Watch is both the ticket itself and the means of paying. TfL requires that you touch in and out and the start and end of each train journey to pay the correct amount; failure to touch out means that you’re charged the full price, from Zone 1 to the end of the line.
The problem emerges if the Apple Watch battery dies mid-journey, meaning that there is no payment mechanism and no proof of purchase. With a battery life of less than 24 hours, and less if it is actually used, this is a very real possibility. With no proof of a ticket, a ticket inspector can issue a penalty fine of up to £80. TfL also instructs that the same device be used for purchase and for the ticket, so it is not enough to link the Apple Watch and iPhone account.
All this means that you need to be extra careful about travelling without sufficient Watch battery…