It's no secret that the cost of travelling in London just seems to go up and up and up. All rail services in and around London rose by about 1.9% at the turn of 2017.
This may not seem like a lot, but when you think about that increase every year, the cost of your travel is significantly more. In turn, lots of people are turning to buses to get around London; and with the introduction in recent years of different schemes, it is now easier than ever to save money on your bus travel in London.
Now, I'm sure I'm right in thinking that the majority of us would like to save a little bit of money our commute. Am I right?
Well I presume I am, seeing as you are reading this article!
So what do all of these schemes mean and how do they work in terms of saving you money? Well, here's a tidy summary of what they all are.
First off, you can't pay for a London bus in cash. So if you are travelling on the bus just for a one-off journey you will need to pay using your contactless card or an Oyster Card.
This Oyster card can be the same one you use for trains as well. The standard single ticket fare is £1.50. This price allows you to travel for as many or as few stops as you want. There's no such thing as a return ticket, and the daily price cap for using this is £4.50. More on that to come.
1 - Hopper fares
This is the first great way for you to save some money on London transport buses. What this means is that you can get 2 bus journeys for the price of 1! However this is subject to a few conditions:
The tapping-in off both journeys must be within 60 minutes of each other. So if you board bus A at 14:00, then it doesn't matter what time you get off bus A; but what does matter is that you board bus B before 14:59.
You must use the same card (be that oyster or contactless) for both journeys.
You mustn't use a train in between using the 2 bus journeys.
2 - Contactless and Oyster Card price caps
The next way to save yourself a bit of money is to make use of the daily price caps. These can be reached on either contactless or Oyster. So make sure you use the same card throughout your day of travel!
The daily caps for bus journeys is £4.50; which is good, because a day pass for bus/trams is £5. So you may just as well make use of price caps instead of buying a day travel card.
If you are using both the underground and bus services in one day then that is also fine. However you will then be subject to the train price caps. These are more expensive and you can see a full list of these price caps here.
Another thing to be aware of, is that there are also weekly price caps. However these apply only for contactless cards, not Oyster cards. So if you think you may hit this weekly cap amount then it is worthwhile to use a contactless card all week, and make sure you consistently use the same one. This weekly cap rate is £21.50.
3 - Bus passes
You can't benefit from the weekly capping rates using Oyster Cards, however there is another option to save money using your Oyster Card. You have the chance to buy a preloaded day, weekly, monthly or annual bus pass. These offer savings for regular bus/tram users, and are shown in the table below:
One Day Bus & Tram Pass
7 Day Bus & Tram Pass
Monthly Bus & Tram Pass
Annual Bus & Tram Pass
So, as you can see, the daily and weekly passes aren't really necessary if you have a contactless card as you can benefit from the same, if not cheaper rates, through the daily caps offered on contactless.
This is where CommuterClub comes in and where we can potentially save you a lot of money on your bus travel in London. We offer monthly London travelcards at the standard monthly rate as Transport for London, except we give our customers the 12th month free of charge!
What makes these travelcards potentially so full of savings is that not only can they be used for designated zones on the Underground, but they also give their holders UNLIMITED travel on buses across all London zones!
For example, a zones 2-3 Oyster card costs £94.90 a month. This would give you unlimited use of the underground between zones 2-3, as well as unlimited bus travel all across London! And of course, after paying for 11 months of that you also get the 12th month completely free. So in this case, if you use the buses very frequently and also use the underground for zones 2-3 then this could save you £100s across the year.
On top of that you also get a host of other benefits that are only available to annual travelcard holders. Arguably the best being a free Gold Card which gives you 1/3 off off-peak travel in the South/South-East of England. Check out all of these added benefits here.
This free access to buses all across London applies to any travelcard bought through us. To see how much you can save, check out our tool here. And if you are still a little confused then simply chat to one of our online advisors or call us on 02034 765 002.
4 - Free passes
In some circumstances you may be eligible for a free bus pass
You can get one of these if you live within a London borough and meet certain age or disability criteria. This is very specific for different circumstances, so for full details on whether you are eligible and to apply, check out this complete guide on TfL's site.
60+ oyster photocard:
This entitles the holder to free travel across the majority of London public travel services, including bus and rail.
To be eligible you must live in a London borough and be aged 60 or above. For full details on what this card allows and how to apply, check out this link to TfL's site.
5 - Discounted rates
The final way for you to save money is via certain schemes that give you discounted rail travel. There are a number of these available, and they range from Apprentice schemes to Jobcentre schemes and can save you 30% - 50% on London public transport.
Also there is the chance for children aged under 11 to travel for free. You can find full details of these and how to apply for each of these at the bottom of this page.
Representative example: Credit limit: £1,200. Interest: £67 Total payable: £1,267 in 11 monthly installments of £115. Representative 10.6% APR. Interest rate: 5.6% pa (variable)