London Buses

London's famous red buses are a quick, convenient and cheap way to travel around the city, with plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way.
The London bus network has seen many improvements in recent years with new buses, more frequent services and improved accessibility. A single bus fare costs £1.45 with a Visitor Oyster Card. From 2 January 2015 this fare will be £1.50.

Paying for Your Bus Fare in London

You can no longer pay for your London bus fare with cash.

You can pay for your bus fare with a Visitor Oyster Card, Oyster card, Travelcard or UK-issued contactless payment card. With all electronic cards, just look out for the contactless symbol and only touch one card on the card reader.

If you don’t have quite enough credit on your Visitor Oyster Card or Oyster card for a £1.45 bus fare, you will be able to make one more journey on a bus. You must then top up your credit before you can use your Visitor Oyster Card again.

Buy Your Travel Ticket Before You Leave Home

Planning a trip to London? Beat the queues, save time and money: buy a Visitor Oyster Card before you leave home. It will be posted to your home address and is ready to use as soon as you arrive in London.

An alternative travel smartcard is Oyster, which looks a lot like a Visitor Oyster Card and is used in the same way. Being able to load an electronic 7 Day Travelcard onto an Oyster card is its main advantage. The disadvantage is that you can only buy an Oyster card when you arrive in London.

If you have further questions about Oyster, read through our Oyster FAQs pages to find the answer.

How to Add More Credit to Your Visitor Oyster Card

If you run out of money on your Visitor Oyster Card, it’s easy to add more credit at:

Please note, you can't top up your Visitor Oyster Card online.

More Oyster Questions?

Still not sure which travel ticket you need to buy? Unclear on how to use your Visitor Oyster Card? Read our Oyster FAQs section for the answer to these and other Oyster-related questions.

London Bus Passes

Bus passes are valid for the whole bus and tram network in London (unlike the Tube there are no fare zones). With Oyster's daily price cap system, the most you will be charged per day when you use Oyster to pay on bus and tram services is £4.40 (adult fare).

One Day Bus and Tram Pass

This pass will only be available from 2 January 2015 onwards. You will have unlimited travel for £5 on buses and trams only. You will be able to travel for a single day, up to 04:29 the following day.

2014 London Bus and Tram Pass Prices (Standard Adult Fares)

  • 7 Day: £20.20 (this will increase to £21 from 2 January 2015)
  • 1 month: £77.60 (this will increase to £80.70 from 2 January 2015)
  • 1 year: £808 (this will increase to £840 from 2 January 2015)
  • 3 day bus passes are no longer available
  • Find more bus fare information

London Bus Fare Concessions

Children under the age of 11 travel free on buses and trams. Find out about other child and student discounts and concessions

Freedom Passes provide free travel for wheelchair users, as well as for older and disabled persons. Find out about adult discounts and concessions

Contactless Payment on London Buses

You can now pay for your London bus fare using a UK-issued contactless payment card – a single journey costs £1.45, the same as a Visitor Oyster Card. This fare rises to £1.50 from 2 January 2015.

You just need to touch your card flat on the yellow card reader as you board a bus – exactly the same as when you use a Visitor Oyster Card. Look out for the contactless symbol – remember to only touch one card on the card reader. Find out more about paying with a contactless payment card.

If your contactless payment card has been issued outside the UK, check the TfL guide before you use your contactless payment card to pay for a London bus fare. For any international transaction fees or charges that may apply, please check with your card issuer.

How to Ask the Driver to Stop a London Bus

Buses only stop at designated bus stops. They do not stop on request between bus stops. 

To ask the driver to let you off at the next bus stop, press one of the red buttons which can be found on the upright metal posts throughout the bus. You will probably hear a bell and see a "bus stopping" light appear at the front of the bus.

London Bus Information

The Central London Bus Guide will be sufficient for most travellers. This map is available from Travel Information Centres or to download from our Free London Travel Maps page.

You can also plan your bus route online with Transport for London's Journey Planner.

Night Buses in London

London's buses run throughout the night. Night bus services cover the period between the close of the Tube and the start of daytime bus services. In addition, many London bus routes run for 24 hours.

If you're not familiar with the routes, head to Trafalgar Square (the hub for night buses) or check any bus-stop information board. As you'd expect, services are less frequent during the night. Night buses stop on request only: so you'll need to indicate your stop clearly to the driver when boarding or alighting.

London Bus Tours

London bus tours provide a unique opportunity to appreciate the full architectural splendour of London's famous streets and monuments. Tour guides offer historical background and interesting facts, with commentaries available in several languages.

Some regular bus routes are good for sightseeing too – try routes 9, 14, 15 and 22. The New Routemaster bus featured in the James Bond film Skyfall and runs on routes 8, 9, 10, 11, 24, 38, 148 and 390.

Accessibility Information

All 8,500 London buses (except heritage Routemaster buses) are low floor vehicles. Bus travel is free for wheelchair users.

Low-floor buses enable all customers, including people using wheelchairs, people with baby buggies (prams/strollers), people with assistance dogs, and people with other mobility impairments to get on and off easily. Every bus also has a retractable ramp, which must be in full working order at all times.

On all buses, there is room for one person using a wheelchair. Wheelchairs can be accommodated up to a size of 70cm wide (28 inches) by 120cm long (47 inches). Wheelchair users have priority over everyone else for use of the wheelchair space. There is no limit on the number of assistance dogs allowed on the bus, as long as there is space.

See Transport for London's Accessibility guide.

Bus or Coach To and From London

Coaches are a great option for cheap travel to London from almost anywhere in the UK or Europe. Read about Coaches to London.

2014: Year of the Bus

Following the 150th anniversary of the Tube in 2013, in 2014 Transport for London is celebrating The Year of the Bus. This year marks the 60th birthday of the Routemaster bus and 100 years since London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.

Look out for special events and exhibitions at venues such as the London Transport Museum commemorating the occasion throughout the year.

More Ideas

  • Transport in London

    How to travel around London by bus, bicycle, train, tube, taxi, tram, river bus and more

  • London Cycle Paths: Thames and Beyond

    In London you can ride your bike along cycle routes near or next to almost the length of the river Thames

  • Walking in London

    Walking is a fun and eco-friendly way to get around London. Beat the traffic, get some exercise and enjoy the views!

Blog Posts

Read more on the blog