Transportation Costs

Transport for London (TfL)

Many Londoners cope more than adequately without a car thanks to the excellent public transport system. Tips and guides on how to budget for transport can be found on this page.

To get around London on the buses, tubes and trains, you will need an Oyster Card, which is essentially a smart-card that you can load with money. Money is deducted from the card automatically when you touch the ticket barriers. For use on the tube and train, you must touch in at the start of your journey and touch out when you complete the journey. For buses, you only need to tap in when boarding.

Ticket barriers in London now accept contactless credit/debit cards and Apple Pay as alternatives to the Oyster card. There is also the option of purchasing travel cards without an Oyster card or contactless form of payment, but these will end up being much more expensive and are not available for buses.

These cards provide you with the option of paying for unlimited travel within certain zones for a fixed fee. There are weekly, monthly and annual packages. The bigger the package, the bigger the saving. The further out you intend the travel, the more expensive your travel-card becomes. Generally, travel-cards can be used on all TfL services, but you also have the option of purchasing a bus-only pass, which will reduce your transport costs.

You all qualify for an 18+ Student Oyster Photocard, which gets you 30% off of the standard adult-rate travel-cards. These cards cost £20.

The Oyster card pay as you go has a feature called ‘capping’, which limits how much you are charged for daily travel. Essentially, once you’ve paid a certain amount, you stop being charged for travel. The price caps vary, however, depending on when, where and how you travel. More information can be found on this link.

For contactless payment methods, there is a weekly cap rather than a daily on and these are measured from Monday to Sunday.

The Underground (Tube), Overground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
These transport systems do not differ in prices – they all charge the same fares. In most cases, the stations are shared. The way the fare is calculated is very dependent on which zones you are traveling through and from. To get a clear break down of the fares, visit this link.

Unlike the Tube, Overground and DLR services, there is a flat fare for bus journeys in London of £1.50. Regardless of how far you travel within the city, the fare will remain the same. If you need to take multiple buses, you will need to tap in each time you board.

However, TfL have recently introduced the new “Hopper Fare“, which allows you to make a second bus or tram journey for free within one hour of touching in on the first bus or tram, using the same card.

The buses do not accept cash payments, nor can you purchase a ticket or load up your Oyster on board. You can only use the bus with a loaded Oyster or contactless payment method.

National Rail Trains
Travel on National Rail will not be the same as a tube journey because this service is not a part of the London public transport system. Fares will differ, however, Oyster cards will only be accepted on this network for London travel. For travel outside of London, a ticket will need to be purchased. For discounted travel tickets outside of London, visit the Train Line.

Taxis and minicabs
It is very easy to want to grab a ‘black cab’ taxi as they are so readily available, but be mindful of the cost involved. They are one of the most expensive ways to travel around the city, particularly if you can’t share the cost with others. For further details on the black cab fares, you can visit this page.

An alternative to black cabs is to use a licensed mini cab company through CABWISE. They will give you competitive rates.

Service Keyword  Phone number Description   Cost   Opt out instructions
Cabwise CAB 60835 Request numbers of licensed minicab firms in your geographical proximity 35p plus standard network tariff Send HOME STOP to 60835

Do NOT take an unlicensed cab. Any taxi that isn’t booked by phone, e-mail or minicab office is illegal. Only black cabs can pick you up off the street.

Taxi safety:
1. Book your minicab by phone, e-mail or minicab office.
2. Check it’s yours: can the driver confirm your name?
3. Sit in the back and hold your mobile phone in your hand in case you need to make an emergency call.
4. Always let someone else know where you are/who you are with.

Transport to/from Airports
By following this link, you will find a detailed breakdown of cost-conscious ways to get to/from all London airports. Below is a summary breakdown from the linked website.


Return fare Journey time (one-way)
Heathrow Express £34 15 mins (T1-3); 21 mins (T5); 27 mins (T4)
Heathrow Connect £19.80 from 26 mins (T1-3); 30-35 mins for T4 and T5
London Underground £10.40 cash; £6-10 Oyster 46 mins (T1-3); 47 mins (T4); 50 mins (T5)
Coach (National Express, from Victoria) £12 50 mins
Bus (from Victoria) £14.40 cash; £8.70 Oyster 2 hours 19 minutes


Return fare Journey time (one-way)
Gatwick Express £31.05 30 mins
Southern/First Capital Connect £19 36 mins from Victoria; 29 mins from London Bridge
London Underground n/a n/a
Coach (National Express, from Victoria) £16 1 hour 50 mins
EasyBus from £4 1 hour 5 mins
Bus (from Victoria) £19.20 cash; £11.60 Oyster 2 hours 59 mins


Return fare Journey time
Stansted Express £33.20 from Liverpool Street. £16 when booked more than one month in advance 47 mins
London Underground n/a n/a
Coach (National Express, from Victoria) £19 1 hour 45 mins
EasyBus from £4 1 hour 15 mins


Return fare Journey time
First Capital Connect/East Midlands Trains £26.50 from 37 mins (including bus transfer to airport terminal)
London Underground n/a n/a
EasyBus from £4 one hour
Coach (National Express) £16 1 hour 35 mins