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Bus

London's ubiquitous red double-decker buses afford great views of the city, but be aware that the going can be slow, thanks to traffic jams and dozens of commuters getting on and off at every stop.

There are excellent bus maps at every stop detailing all routes and destinations served from that particular area (generally a few bus stops within a two- to three-minute walk, shown on a local map).

Many bus stops have LED displays listing bus arrival times, but downloading a bus app such as London Bus Live Countdown to your smartphone is the most effective way to keep track of when your next bus is due.

Bus services normally operate from 5am to 11.30pm.

Night Bus

  • More than 50 night-bus routes (prefixed with the letter ‘N’) run from around 11.30pm to 5am.
  • There are also another 60 bus routes operating 24 hours; the frequency decreases between 11pm and 5am.
  • Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Rd and Trafalgar Sq are the main hubs for night routes.
  • Night buses can be infrequent and stop only on request, so remember to ring for your stop.
  • Don't forget the Night Tube, which runs along five lines for 24 hours on Friday and Saturday, and can either be used as an alternative or in concert with night buses.

Fares

Cash cannot be used on London's buses. Instead you must pay with an Oyster Card, Travelcard or a contactless payment card. Bus fares are a flat £1.50, no matter the distance travelled. If you don’t have enough credit on your Oyster Card for a £1.50 bus fare, you can make one more bus journey. You must then top up your credit before you can use your Oyster Card again.

Children aged under 11 travel free; 11 to 15 year olds are half price if registered on an accompanying adult's Oyster Card (register at Zone 1 or Heathrow tube stations).

Travel Fares

ZoneCash singleOyster/contactless peak singleOyster/contactless off-peak singleCap (Oyster/contactless day Travelcard)
Zone 1 only£4.90£2.40£2.40£6.80
Zone 1 & 2£4.90£2.90£2.40£6.80
Zone 1-3£4.90£3.30£2.80£8
Zone 1-4£5.90£3.90£2.80£9.80
Zone 1-5£5.90£4.70£3.10£11.60
Zone 1-6£6£5.10£3.10£12.50