London: Public Transport - Buses

London: Public Transport - Buses

Source: TfL
Buses are a fantastic way to get around London, with dedicated bus lanes meaning that in many cases a journey on a bus is quicker than the equivalent journey by car. They can also often be quicker than short journeys by tube and the red double-deckers are certainly iconic!

London’s buses are clean, efficient, and are fully accessible to wheelchair users, and include audio and visual announcements too.

Can I pay with cash on a London bus?

All buses in London are cashless – this means that you must use either an Oyster Card or contactless payment to board. A Day Travelcard or a One-Day Bus & Tram Pass can also be used to board a bus – these can be purchased at any tube station as a paper ticket.

How much is a journey on a London bus?

The fare for one journey is £1.50. A One-Day Bus & Tram pass is £5.00, however if you use Contactless or Oyster Pay as You Go, then the price cap is £4.50, making this better value than the day pass. If you run out of money on your Oyster Card, you will be able to make “one more journey” and your card will dip into a negative balance. A receipt will print at the time of boarding to alert you of this a slightly different 'beep' sound with play when touching your Oyster. The negative balance must be repaid next time when topping up.

For those on a budget, the £4.50 price cap for bus-only travel on Oyster Cards offers fantastic value for money.

Buses operate a Hopper fare which means you can make two bus journeys within 1 hour and you will only be charged for the first journey. You simply tap your Oyster Card when boarding each bus as normally and the second bus in the same hour will be free. From Spring 2018, you will be able to board an unlimited number of buses within the same hour for just £1.50.

How frequent are London buses?

You can check the time of your next bus either through electronic ‘countdown’ signs at bus stops, or by following the text message instructions posted at bus stops. Printed timetables and schedules are also available at bus stops.

Most bus routes in central London have a bus every 10 minutes or more frequent; on Sundays, this wait increases to ‘up to’ every 20 minutes on Sundays.

Buses run at night on selected Night bus routes and these are significantly less frequent than during the daytime.

Best Central London Bus Routes for Tourists

The section below lists some of the most notable locations on central London’s key bus routes. Grab a seat up top and make your own bus tour.

  • Route 8 – Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street, Bank, Chancery Lane, Holborn and Tottenham Court Road
  • Route 9 – Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall (St. James’s Palace), Green Park, Knightsbridge, Royal Albert Hall and High Street Kensington
  • Route 10 – King’s Cross, St Pancras, Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street, Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Marble Arch, Knightsbridge, Royal Albert Hall and High Street Kensington
  • Route 11 – Shoreditch High Street, Bank, St Paul’s Cathedral, Fleet Street, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Victoria and Sloane Square
  • Route 14 – Euston Square, Tottenham Court Road, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Knightsbridge and South Kensington
  • Route 15 – Aldgate, Tower Hill (Tower of London), Monument, St Paul’s Cathedral, Fleet Street and Trafalgar Square
  • Route 23 – Liverpool Street, Bank, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Marble Arch, Edgware Road and Paddington
  • Route 24 – Camden Town, Euston Square, Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Westminster
  • Route 38 – Bloomsbury Way (British Museum), Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and Victoria
  • Route 59 – St Pancras, Russell Square, Aldwych, Waterloo and Kennington Road (Imperial War Museum)
  • Route 73 – Kings Cross, St Pancras, Euston, Oxford Street, Park Lane, Hyde Park Corner and Victoria
  • Route 74 – South Kensington, Knightsbridge and Marble Arch
  • Route 139 – Abbey Road, Baker Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Waterloo
  • Route 274 – Camden Town, London Zoo, Lord’s Cricket Ground and Marble Arch
  • Route C2 – Victoria, Green Park, Oxford Circus and Albany Street (for London Zoo)
  • Route RV1 – Covent Garden, Aldwych, Waterloo, London Eye, Tate Modern, London Bridge, Tower Bridge and Tower of London

Transport for London provides these key routes, and some others, in the form of a well-designed map.  You can download the latest version at

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