The London Bus Guide: Everything You Need to Know About London Buses, Routes & London’s Greatest Public Transport Fares

What is London’s Red buses? How much are London red bus fares? How do I use an Oyster card on London buses? Why are red buses painted red, and how much do they cost to private hire? This guide will answer all these questions and more!

london buses

People don’t really think about London buses unless they have to take one somewhere, but for some people, a commute with the bus is their daily grind. London has one of the largest public transport network in the world, serving one of the most populated cities on the planet. With tons of bus journeys taken each day, and many more people moving around town by foot, it’s important that you know exactly how to navigate your way around the buses.

Exploring London by Bus and Tram

London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. London has a vibrant culture, lovely architecture, and an exciting food scene that rivals any city on Earth. But it can also be quite expensive to travel around the city.

Why Take Red Buses in London?

If you want to get an idea of London life outside the tourist spots, red buses are the best way to do it. They’re cheap. i.e. they cost exactly the same as the Tube, and they’re far more flexible than trains because they go everywhere. Trams have a similar appeal, but tend to stick closer to central areas like Brixton or Croydon (where they get quite crowded).

London buses are pretty easy to understand: each route has its own number and color scheme. These can be found on maps all over the city, so look out for them wherever you go! You’ll also find routes displayed at major stops along each route; these will tell you which stop is coming up next.

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How to Use London Buses

The London bus is a great way to get around the city, but it can be confusing if you’re new to the capital. London’s buses are operated by Transport for London (TfL), which also manages the Tube, DLR, tram and overground services. TfL has published a map of all its routes, which makes it easy to find out where your bus will take you. Just zoom in on your route and look for the color-coded buses.


When you board a bus, you’ll usually be asked for your fare. There are two types of ticket: a single ticket costs £1.65 and will cover one journey; an all-day tube pass costs £5.20 with an Oyster card and allows unlimited travel on all TfL services. A weekly travel card costs over £20 and gives unlimited travel on all TfL services within zones 1-6.

Contactless Payment Cards & Oyster Cards

If you’re staying in London for a longer period of time, you’ll need either an Oyster card or a contactless payment card to get on board. If you’re paying by Oyster, touch your card against the reader when you get on the bus and then again when you get off. You’ll be charged per zone travelled through, as shown by the map inside each bus stop.

If you’re paying by contactless payment card or mobile phone app, do the same thing upon entering and exiting the bus. You’ll need to ensure that your card has enough funds to cover your journey.

Night Buses

The night bus is a great way to get around London. They run every night and are cheap and convenient. They are also quite reliable, though they do have their own unique set of rules. London’s night buses travel in the same area as daytime buses, but they are different routes and run at different times of day. Night buses start running at 11pm (and stop running when the last train has left central London (around 6am). You can find out exactly where all the night buses go on Transport for London’s website.

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