London bus fares 2018 – Adult prices

Adult bus fares

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Adult bus fares in London
Buses Cash Oyster and Contactless Travelcards (Buses only)
Single Single Daily cap Weekly cap 1-Day Weekly Monthly Annual
All zones n/a £1.50 £4.50 £21.20 £5 £21.20 £81.50 £848

Child fares? See our child bus fares page

Return fares? There are no return fares. You just pay the same price as two single journeys

Hopper fares? Your second bus journey will be free if you make it within sixty minutes of the first one

Daily cap? If you make multiple journeys in one day then the computer will stop charging you once your total amount reaches the daily cap

Weekly cap? If you make multiple journeys between Mon-Sun then the computer will stop charging you once your total amount reaches the weekly cap. You only get a weekly cap with contactless cards, not Oyster

How to pay for a bus ticket

Oyster cardsOyster cards look like a plastic blue credit card. You can load it up with as much credit as you want (up to a maximum of £90) and the correct bus fare will automatically be deducted every time you touch it against a yellow reader. If you start running low on credit you can top it up again at a train station of an Oyster Ticket Stop. Learn more about Oyster cards.

Visitor Oyster cardVisitor Oyster cards are basically the same as normal Oyster cards, except they come with some credit already pre-loaded on to them to save you the hassle of doing it yourself. Learn more about Visitor Oyster cards.

TravelcardsTravelcards are valid for 1-day, one week, one month, or one year. If buy the cheaper version that’s limited to just the buses then you don’t have to choose any zones, because buses don’t have zones. But you can also buy a more expensive one that covers the trains as well. Learn more about travelcards.

Contactles cardsContactless cards are just bank cards (the same card that you buy your everyday shopping with). They work in exactly the same way as Oyster cards, and even have the same fares as Oyster cards. Learn more about contactless cards.

London Pass and Oyster cardLondon Pass The chief benefit of buying a London Pass is that it gives you free or discounted entry into lots of popular London attractions, but you can also buy one with a Visitor Oyster card included – saving you the hassle of having to buy one separately. Learn more about London Pass

Can you pay with cash?

No. It’s not possible to pay with cash anymore. The only way to pay for a bus ticket nowadays is with an Oyster card, travelcard or contactless bank card – all of which have to be obtained before you board the bus. Bus drivers do not sell tickets.

Hopper Fares

One of the advantages of paying for your bus journey with an Oyster card or contactless card is the Hopper fare. This entitles you to get a second journey for free if you make it within sixty minutes of the first one.

The sixty minutes begins from the moment you get on the first bus – not when you get off. That’s because you only have to tap your card down once – when you get on (the computer hasn’t got the faintest idea when you get off). So if you board the first bus at 10 AM and disembark at 10.30 AM, you need to board the second one by 10.59 AM to get it for free (not 11.29 AM).

Note: The Hopper fare only applies to adults. Children don’t get them. And you can’t sneak a train journey in-between the two buses either – you have to board two buses in a row.

Daily cap and weekly price cap

We always recommend using a pay-as-you-go Oyster card or a contactless card over a 1-day bus pass, because you benefit from something called a daily cap.

This is the maximum amount of money that will be taken from your card each day. It doesn’t matter how many buses you use in London during each 24 hour period, the total amount of money taken from your card will never rise above the daily cap. And of you check out the price table above then you’ll see that the daily cap is cheaper than the cost of a one day travelcard – saving you money.

Bear in mind that you have to stick with the buses all day. If you use a mixture of buses and trains (or just the trains on their own) then you’ll pay the train daily cap instead, which is more expensive (see our adult train fares page).

If you want to benefit from a weekly cap as well then you’ll have to use a contactless card. Oyster cards do not have a weekly cap.

Bus fares for Seniors

Visitors from abroad aren’t eligible for free or discounted travel on the buses, but there are several ways for UK senior citizens to get cheap fares…

Freedom Pass on a London busFreedom Pass: If your principal home is in London and you’re old enough to receive a woman’s state pension (regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman), or you have an eligible disability, then you can try getting hold of a Freedom Pass.

A Freedom Pass entitles you to free travel on TFL (Transport for London) buses, plus many local bus services beyond the TFL network. You can also travel on the trams, London Underground, London Overground, DLR (Docklands Light Railway), TFL Rail, and some National Rail trains within London (usually after 9.30 AM on weekdays, or any time during the weekend).

Freedom Passes are supplied by your local council, and you will need to fill in an application form and provide a passport-sized photo to get one. Check their website for details:

60+ London Oyster photocard for Londons buses60+ London Oyster photocard: This allows you to travel for free on London’s buses, tube trains, trams, DLR, London Overground, TFL Rail and some National Rail trains (usually after 9.30 AM on weekdays, and any time at the weekend) – but only until you qualify for a Freedom Pass. Once you qualify for that then you’ll have to swap over.

In order to get one you must live in a London borough and be aged 60 or over. You can apply for a 60+ Oyster photocard online at

Other UK bus passes: If you have a bus pass from another part of the country with a red rose symbol on it, then you can benefit from the English National Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme. This allows you to travel for free on any bus carrying the TFL bus symbol 60+ London Oyster photocard for Londons buses. Unfortunately it doesn’t apply to the trains as well – only the buses. If the bus doesn’t carry the TFL bus symbol then you may still be able to use it, but you’ll have to check with the driver first (they may just let you travel with time restrictions, ie. 9:30 AM to 11 PM).

Be aware that your pass will not work with the big yellow Oyster readers, so don’t try and touch it against the machine – you’ll have to board the bus at the front and show it to the driver instead.

Are train travelcards valid on the bus?

Yes. There are actually two kinds of travelcard available. The first one just covers the bus, and the second one includes the trains as well. Most visitors will want to buy this second one. But bear in mind that train travelcards work slightly differently to the bus ones, because you also have to select which zones you want. Buses don’t have zones, so if you buy a bus travelcard then you don’t get that option – it covers all the zones at once.

So what happens if you buy a zone 1-2 travelcard, but want to ride a bus out to zone 6? Does that mean you have to buy a zone 1-6 card instead?

No, it doesn’t. A train travelcard covers all the buses, regardless of which train zones it covers. That might sound strange, but if you think about it then it makes sense – there’s only one bus fare in London. It’s the same price wherever you go.

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