Unlike New York and London, STM says Montrealers won’t get to use Apple Pay

Beginning this fall, iPhone users in many major North American cities will be able to load their transit pass onto their digital Apple Wallet and board subways and buses with just a tap of their smartphone. But Montreal’s transit commission is adamant that métro riders in this city will not have access to the feature.

Apple announced earlier this spring it would be partnering with transit agencies in major cities around the world to add transit passes to the company’s digital wallet system, available on iPhones and the Apple Watch. Starting this fall, public transit users in Chicago and Portland will be able to load daily, weekly or monthly transit cards into their wallet and board subways and buses by using their phone.

The feature is already available for users of the London Underground, Tokyo Subway and several railway systems in mainland China. Vancouver’s Translink and Toronto’s TTC are reportedly both on the shortlist of systems that will be added in 2020.

Even New York City, which has famously failed to move beyond its existing 1980's-era MetroCard system, despite attempts to in 2006, 2010 and 2014, says it will roll out Apple Pay Transit this fall.

The Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), however, made clear this week that métro riders here in Canada’s second-largest city should not expect to put their OPUS cards into a digital wallet anytime soon.

“Apple Pay integration is not planned in the foreseeable future, as we prefer to avoid proprietary technology,” the STM said on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

The transit commission said they preferred to “invest in a solution that will benefit the largest number of users possible, i.e. open payment via bank cards”.

Such a system, of course, would only benefit occasional users of the métro and bus networks — Apple Pay’s transit feature, by contrast, would allow monthly OPUS pass holders the ability to access the system without holding a physical card.

Twitter users expressed disappointment at the STM’s decision not to follow the lead of other mass-transit systems on the continent.

An STM spokesperson did not immediately respond to CJAD 800’s request for further comment on the matter.