London Toolkit (Spanish Pages)

A Practical Guide to London Buses With 2014 Fares & Maps

Be Informed And In Control Using London's Famous Red Buses

London Double Deck Buses

Official Web Site of London Buses


London's famous red buses form a big part of getting around in London. Although the London Underground is the fastest and for newcomers the simplest way of getting around London, the buses play their part and are an experience you should try at least once on your visit. Unlike the London Underground, perched up on the top deck of the bus you get a great sightseeing experience of London as well.

Key points about London's buses are:

  • Although there are separate bus operating companies, the regulation, fares and ticketing for buses, Underground, DLR and London suburban trains are managed by a central government body called Transport For London chaired by the mayor of London. The transport passes that nearly everyone uses, Oyster and Travelcard, allow you to travel seamlessly across all modes of transport, bus, Underground, train and DLR using the same ticket/pass.

  • From July 2014 you will be unable to use cash on London's buses, (see London Bus Fares section further down the page).

  • Children under 11 travel free on red London buses (and the Underground) at all times. Child fares are available for those under 16 and it is possible to get discounted fares if you are under 18 or studying in London with an ID card.

  • There are no seniors fares for visitors. If you reside in London and are over 60 you can get a pass that makes free bus travel available and anyone with an English National Concessionary bus pass can use that on London's buses too.

  • Many of London's bus routes run 24x7. When the Underground closes between about midnight and about 5 a.m. extra night buses are put on. In the centre of London you only wait a few minutes for a bus whatever time of day or night.

London Public Transport Journey Planner

London Bus Journey Planner

Use the TFL (Transport For London) journey planner linked from icon on the left to plan your journeys. The journey planner covers all public transport.

London Bus Maps

For first time visitors to London who can invest a little time pouring over the Central London Bus Map (right) you can quite easily put together your own tour very cheaply with just a few well chosen routes.

London Bus Fares

The days when there were conductors on each bus that issued a ticket depending on where you were going and you paid cash are long gone. On the buses there are flat fares whether you go one stop or to the end of the route.


Bus fares are the same flat fare whether you go one stop or to the end of the route. From 6 July 2014 it is not possible to pay for London bus fares in cash. Instead you can pay with a Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card, Travelcard or contactless payment card. Just touch one card on the card reader as you enter the bus.

The vast majority of people using buses will be using Oyster Cards at the moment.


London Adult Bus Fares & Ticketing In 2014

(Childrens Fares See Below)

- Fares Available Paying By Oyster Card or Contactless Payment Card

Single Journey Fare £1.45
(Daily Oyster and contactless payment card fare cap* £4.40)

7 Day Bus Pass £20.20

7 day cap for contactless payment cards between Monday and Sunday (not Oyster) £20.20

1 Month Bus Pass £77.60

Annual Bus Pass £808.00

* Daily Oyster and contactless payment card cap - the maximum you pay in a calendar day no matter how many bus journeys you make. e.g 4 journeys made in one day at £1.45 cost £4.40 (the daily cap) not £5.80.

Fares in 2015

Fares in London are revised annually. New prices and any changes in ticketing types or rules are implemented on January 2nd each for that calendar year.


In crude terms the single bus fare is going up by 5p and the 1 day bus cap will be frozen. A new 1 day bus Travelcard will become available for £5. Other bus passes will go up by about 4%.


Biggest changes for 2015 are in the area of Travelcards and Oyster price caps.

This page will be fully updated prior to implementation.

Oyster & Contactless Payment Cards

Travelcard or Oyster Cards In London Discussion

The Oyster card is a permanent reusable electronic ticket which is topped up from time to time by its owner. Londoners also have their season tickets loaded onto Oyster Cards as well and there are passes for one weekly and monthly durations. All can be loaded onto the one electronic Oyster card.

Contactless cards are standard credit or debit cards that support the contactless payment technology, the total cost of all the journeys that you make in one day is calculated at the end of the day and a single charge is made to your contactless payment card account.

Unlike the Oyster Card the contactless facility has a 7 day cap as well as the Oyster daily cap used by Oyster.


You can use Oyster Cards and contactless payment cards on all of London's public transport, not just buses but the Underground, Overground, DLR, suburban rail services and some river services. Note contactless cards cannot be used on the heritage routemaster buses in London.

You can purchase and subsequently top up Oyster cards from Underground Stations and a wide variety of other outlets throughout London including neighbourhood stores.

If you don't have enough credit for the bus fare on your Oyster card, you will be able to make one more bus journey to help you get to your next destination. You must then top up your credit before you can use your Oyster card again.

Oyster Cards - More Details

Contactless Payment Cards - More Details


London Oyster Card and Travelcards For Sale On-line

Seniors Concessions

There are no seniors fares for visitors. If you reside in London and are over 60 you can get a Freedom pass or 60+ Oyer ID Card that makes free bus travel available. You can apply on-line or get a form from your local Post Office.

Anybody with an English National Concessionary bus pass can use that on London's red buses too.

Child Concessions

This is a very complex subject and is covered in detail at the foot of the page.

In crude terms a child is defined as under 16 years old, but in the last couple of years it has been possible to get child fares after jumping through a few hoops up to the age of 17.

On the buses children broadly enjoy a 50% discount on child Oyster and Travelcard tickets if there is no free travel available.

Swiping Your Oyster Card

Children under 11 can travel free on the London Underground, DLR and buses without a ticket. If a child is between 11 and 15 years old you require an Oyster 11-15 Photocard (which has a fee see below). This allows 11 to 15 year olds to travel at child fares on the Underground, DLR, Overground and some trains, free on the buses.

If you are a short term visitor (in London for up to 14 days) with kids between 11-15 you can take advantage of the Young Visitor Discount. This means you can get half price fares on an Oyster Card on a temporary basis for your child without going through the hoops and expense of getting an Oyster ID card. You do need to read carefully the rules of this scheme though.

Child Fares - More Details

Boarding The Bus

When you board the bus with an Oyster Card or contactless payment card you will see a yellow pad like the one pictured right.

Swipe your Oyster over the pad and the machine will confirm your fare has been taken. That's it, you don't get a ticket and you don't swipe it again on exiting the bus.

Travelcards are unlimited journey passes where as long as your Travelcard is valid the day of travel you do not need to swipe.


Children's Fare Concessions
- Children Under 5

Children under five can travel free at any time on the Tube, DLR, buses and trams as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. You do not need a ticket for free travel. Children in this category do not need Oyster ID Cards*.

- Children 5-10

Under-11s can travel free at any time on buses and trams without the need for a Oyster ID Card*. You do not need a ticket for free travel.

They can also travel free at any time on the Tube and DLR when they are travelling with an adult who has a valid ticket. Up to 4 children under 11 years old accompanied by a paying adult travel free on the London Underground.

Unaccompanied children between 5 and 10 must have a valid Oyster ID Card*.

- Children 11-15
Child Fares On London Public Transport

Children aged 11 to 15 years must get an 11-15 Oyster ID Card* to travel free on buses and trams and at child-rate on Tube, DLR and London Overground services. You do not need a ticket for free travel, just the ID Card.

You cannot get a standard child rate Oyster Card without an Oyster ID Card.


Young Visitor Discount (for visitors to London staying up to 2 weeks)

If you are a short term visitor to London you can get child fares on a special child Oyster Card that expires after 14 days. There are restrictions. You can only get these Oyster Cards at Underground station ticket offices in Zone 1 and Heathrow Terminals, Travel Information Centres and City Airport DLR Station for example. For full details of this scheme click through on the Child Fares banner to the right.


Alternatives To Oyster Cards For Children

You can get around the Oyster ID card requirement by purchasing a 1 day Travelcard for the child, (longer length Travelcards do require an Oyster ID Card) or paying the cash fare or purchasing your Child Travelcard on-line in advance from the TFL Visitor Shop.


You can buy 7 day child Travelcards at railway stations (not Underground or Overground) with a railway ticket office. The railways will issue a railways photocard free of charge if you bring along a passport size photo of your child. You can only use this for buying tickets from the railways which in practise for visitors means Travelcards.

Children 16-17

All 16 to 17-year-olds can travel at child-rate on bus, Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground services with a 16+ Oyster ID Card*.

However, you can only use this concession on Oyster cards and 7 Day Travelcards or longer, not 1 day Travelcards.

Students 18+

If you are 18 or over and enrolled with a participating education establishment registered on the TfL scheme and are resident in London whilst studying there is an Oyster ID card that gives a 34% discount on Oyster Pay As You Go.

*Oyster ID Cards

Visitors to London from overseas can order an Oyster Photocard in advance for their children and collect on arrival at a travel centre. (There is a Travel Centre at Heathrow Airport as well as in Central London). If you are resident in the UK but live outside London you can again order on-line but the Oyster ID Card is sent to your home address.

Note you need to apply (online) at least 4 weeks prior to arrival.

Note: There is a non-refundable £10 administration fee for each Oyster ID Card

Advance application for Child Oyster ID Card


London Oyster Card and Travelcards For Sale On-line
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