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How to use London transport: using the bus

Use our step-by-step guide for beginners on how to use London's buses

How to use London transport: using the bus

London can seem scary and so can London’s transport. If you have never used the bus, here is a useful guide explaining how to use it.

The buses are a cheaper alternative to other transport in London, because a single fare costs £1.50. The buses also run 24 hours a day, which means that if you miss the last tube or train, you won’t be stranded with no way of getting home.

Step 1: To go on a bus, you must have a ticket or a card to tap in with. You can use your contactless card, an Oyster card or you can purchase a paper day travelcard from train stations.
Note: you cannot pay the fare using cash.

Step 2: Find your bus stop, the easiest way to do this is to download an App on your phone, such as CityMapper. At most bus stops, there are display boards that show when the next bus is coming, which number it is and where it is going to. Make sure you are waiting at the right bus stop.

Step 3: When you see your bus coming down the road, stick out your arm to indicate to the bus driver that you want to board the bus. The bus will pull in and the doors will open, allowing you to get onto the bus.

Step 4: Once you have boarded the bus, scan your card on the yellow card reader or present your ticket to the bus driver. Then make your way down the bus and find a seat. Now you can sit back and enjoy some of London’s sights.

Step 5: All stops are announced before the bus approaches them, so that you know when to get off. The bus won’t pull into every stop, so to indicate that you want to get off, press the button that is in front of you. You can also find all routes and where the buses stop here.

Step 6: When you are exiting the bus you don’t need to tap out (like you do for other public transport), just make your way to the doors that are at the back or the middle of the bus.
Note: if you are making more than one bus journey within an hour, then you can take advantage of hopper fare, which allows you to make two journeys for the price of one.

Fun fact: In London, there are 8,600 buses, which operate on 700 routes and serve 19,000 bus stops in total. London’s buses carry around 6.5 million passengers a day, according to TfL.