London Transport Tickets & Passes
Visitors to London are often confused by the various ways to pay for public transport. But it’s not as complicated as it first seems.
The most important thing to remember is to never pay cash for single tickets. If you do, your transport costs will be extortionate if you make more than two journeys a day.
Nobody living in London pays the full cash fare and neither should you. You can save money straight away with a Pay-as-you-go Oyster card, a One Day Travelcard, a Weekly Travelcard or a Weekly Bus Pass.
— A single underground ticket costs £4.50 per journey in central London (in zone 1)
— A single bus ticket costs £2.40 if you pay on the bus.
To give you an idea on how much money you will save – three trips on the underground costs £13.50 if you don’t have a Travelcard or a PAYG Oyster card. If you use a Pay-as-you-go Oyster card three trips cost £6.30 or a maximum of £7 or £8.40 for unlimited trips for the whole day. A One Day Travelcard (unlimited trips) costs £7.30 or £8.80 depending on the time you start travelling. So as you can see, it’s a huge saving.
Travelcards and the Pay-as-you-go Oyster card are valid on all types of transport in London: underground (the Tube), bus, local suburban trains, London Overground, the trams & the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).
Oyster or Travelcard – Which is the one to buy?
If you’re staying in central London, the best ticket to buy depends on the length of your trip, how often you plan to use public transport each day and what type of transport you want to use.
Click on the links for each ticket type for more detailed information and prices.
For visits to London for 1,2,3 or 4 days
One Day Travelcards are valid for a particular day and have a set price.
For cost-conscious visitors, a Pay-as-you-go Oyster card is a slightly better deal. You can ‘top-up’ your card with the equivalent cost of a One Day Travelcard BUT, if you only end up taking a few trips in one day, any remaining money is stored on your card until you use it again on another day. And, you can get a refund on any unused money.
Is there anything cheaper?
Yes, don’t use the underground or trains and only use the buses. If you really want to save money, and see London when you travel around, the Pay as you go Oyster card is the cheapest way to pay for travel on London buses for the day.
For visits to London for 5, 6 or 7 days
If you make at least two journeys per day, buy a Weekly Travelcard. It’s cheaper than buying 5–7 x One Day Travelcards.
Is there anything cheaper?
Again, if want to save money, make sure you only travel by bus; a Weekly Bus Pass is the cheapest London transport ticket.
Top Tip: If you’re visiting London with another person and plan to visit museums, galleries or tourist attractions that charge an entrance fee, it’s possible to get 2 for the price of 1 discounts if you buy a Travelcard from a train station. You can save a lot of money if you plan to do some sightseeing and if this is the case, we strongly recommend you buy a Travelcard from a train station instead of using a Pay as you go Oyster card. See our guide to 2 for 1 offers for full details.
Last updated: 5 December 2013