London Buses Go Cash Free on July 6th

The iconic Routemaster at work

The iconic Routemaster at work

For the savvy traveller in London, it’s all about the Oyster card. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to zip around the city, using tube, bus, boat or train. But times are changing, from July 6th onwards the Oyster is your essential companion for the bus, because London buses are going cashfree. Coins and notes are no longer allowed, so it’s all about being prepared.

We recommend buying your Oyster card on arrival in London and that you add £5-£10 as a starting balance to get you moving. Then you’ll be free to travel by tube, and of course the bus, to your heart’s content.

Your essential card for London buses

Your essential card for London buses

Alternatively, you can pay for a ticket using your contactless card, but fares are cheaper with the Oyster. If you get caught out with a balance lower than £1.45 (which is the current single Oyster fare) then you will still be able to travel with the ‘one more journey’ feature. If you don’t have your Oyster or contactless card with you but are deemed ‘vulnerable’ then London bus drivers, we are told, have had special training to allow you to travel for free. This is unlikely to be a free lift when you’ve had too many pints though!

So, in short, get thee an Oyster and hang onto it, your bus travel depends on it. For more info on the bus, have a gander at our previous post.

Oh and a final word, remember to store your Oyster and your contactless card separately lest you end up being charged twice. Phew! Advice over, happy travels.


Megan Donnelly is a writer and former Londoner. You can read more about her travels at:


(Image Credits: London Bus by Kevin Pho and Oyster Card by Oxyman)

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