London Bus: Travel Around London Cheap

Getting around London with cheap travel tips

London is a dynamic city with new things happening inside and around the British capital.  Travelling in London is changing so fast.   Many Londoners love travelling on London buses because they offer flexibility and convenience of getting around this big and sometimes overwhelming city. 

Travel on London Buses

So, if you are visiting London for the first time, you don’t need to worry about travelling in and around the city  London is served by hundreds of bus routes. Many people travel around using the London bus every day.  London bus caters for everyone, particularly those with lower income.  

If you want your London trips to be hassle-free, there are things you may need to consider first. London is a huge and complex city that is divided into zones.  But guiding information and London bus travel maps are available at bus-stops and online. 

So, it’s more helpful to know in advance the routes you’ll be taking, and zones of your destination.  Then ask yourself, how I’m going to pay for my travel. London is very busy with people moving very fast from one corner of the city to another. 

Keeping other passengers who want to jump on the bus waiting because you’re asking the driver about the type of ticket or the best method of payment for your travel must be avoided. Most Londoners want their journeys to be convenient and frictionless.   You can easily, get real-time bus arrival information for all bus stops online, on smartphones. 

The London Transport services also provide interactive maps that allow people to search and find, street names, bus route numbers, stop name or places of interest.

How to pay bus fare in London?

You can’t pay with cash to travel on London buses. But you can use cash to buy a London travel card from ticket vending machines at train stations, airports, and some shops across the city.   One of the cheapest ways to travel around London is to buy an Oyster travel card. Apart from saving money, it will save you the hassle of buying daily tickets. 

The Oyster card also gives you convenient options for travelling across London city using a bus and other public transport networks such as London Underground trains, Dockland Light Railway (DLR) and Overground trains. 

You can buy a Visitor Oyster card from airports and train stations outside London, or order it online and get it posted to your home.  You’ll have to pay £5 refundable deposit for an Oyster card and will still require you to do regular credit top-ups from airports, train stations, and some shops around London.

Getting around London with cheap travel tips

Is it cheaper to use an oyster card or contactless?

You can also pay for the journey using your Contactless enabled bank card with American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro.   It’s quicker and removes the need for detailed knowledge. 

It provides the ability to travel on London buses and other public transport networks without buying a ticket in advance with the knowledge that you will be charged the optimal fare for your journey. 

You don’t need to worry about topping-up to add credit like the Oyster card.  You can also pay using mobile payments like, Apple Pay, Android pay, Samsung phone pay, or buying a standard London travel card.

Making payment with a contactless card is almost the same as using the Oyster card.  You just touch the card on the yellow reader beside the driver and that’s it.

Both contactless and Oyster supports daily capping – which starts after you have made three trips.   But an overseas traveller making Contactless payments should consider first the foreign exchange rate charges back home, as your travel fares will be converted from the British pounds to your local currency.  

Also, you may want to be sure that your card will not incur extra fees and charges from your bank card issuer.  Otherwise, it will make your journey more expensive than the alternatives available to you.   

You also need to know about the hopper fare.  What the hoper fare means is that any second or third bus you board within one hour of starting your first journey is free, if you’re using a contactless or Oyster card. 

The Hopper fare makes travelling on the bus across London cheaper and easier. You can make as many changes as possible within one hour and only be charged a single fare of an adult.  Passengers can also switch between buses and trams in any combination, within that hour.

Disabled access on buses

London buses provide mobility to all people.   All London buses are accessible and have designated priority spaces for wheelchairs. You can locate the spaces by looking for the wheelchair symbol inside the carriage.  

Bus drivers normally pull their buses closer to the curbs at the bus-stops to reduce the gap.  They then make the bus kneel closer to make low-floor access.  In case you feel that the step-up is high, you can always ask the driver to lower the bus.

When bus drivers see a visually impaired passenger carrying a white stick at bus-stops, they provide the travel information the person needs.  They call out their bus numbers and destination.  And they always wait very patiently for the passenger to get on board.  

Some drivers can notice passengers with hearing difficulties. And they try to offer whatever support they can to deaf travellers.  Buses are fitted with hearing induction loops to help passengers with hearing impairments communicate with the driver. 

Also, every bus in London is fitted with an electronic real-time visual information display board. The boards notify passengers what the next step is going to be, the bus’s destination, and all audible announcements the drive makes.   The Visual and audible warnings, inform passengers that the bus is about to stop, and the doors are opening or closing, and for emergency evacuation information. 

London is served by single and double-deck buses.  Some people prefer to sit on the upper deck, and if that’s your preference, just be aware that you can fall as it pulls away.  It’s safer to remain in the lower deck If you have some physical issues or some disabilities.

Is it cheaper to use an oyster card or contactless / yes it's cheaper

London buses times

You may have to wait at the bus-stops a bit longer during rush and peak hours.  You can always go online and search for your bus-stop or choose your route number, and then you will see a list of bus arrival times.  

You can also send a text message to 87287 with your bus-stop code number – the bus stop-code is a black five-digit number on a sign above the timetable.  You’ll get a reply with live bus arrival information for that bus-stop. 

London buses hail and ride

Buses operate a Hail and Ride service on some of the routes in outer London.  Passengers always get informed when the bus is entering and leaving the Hail and Ride part of the route.  In the Haile and Ride zone, buses only stop on request. 

If you’re waiting at a bus, look up and see whether it’s a request bus-stop.  What that means is the bus will only stop if requested – which is to let the driver know that you want to get on the onboard.  

So, when you see the bus coming, safely put your hand out and wave down for the bus to stop.  And don’t forget to press the red stop button to alert the driver that you want to get off when you reach your final stop.

To summarize, there are things you need to help you get around London.  The Oyster card is very handy to use on London Buses as well as travelling in the city.  Don’t forget that you only must tap your Oyster card on the reader when you’re boarding the bus.  That’s it.   

It also helps a lot to have a Travelmapper app on your mobile phone, to see and plan better public transport options are available before you travel somewhere.  

London buses are quite impressive.  And there are more bus routes you can take to go around the overwhelming London city very quickly and cheaply.  Therefore, plan out your journey before you set off and take the cheapest and quickest option that suits you the most. 

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