Sure London has the Elizabeth Tower and the world renowned Big Ben and the beautiful House of Parliament, but what people also immediately recognize in London are the big red buses that became iconic over the decades. While Londoners might not appreciate the site of a bus it’s no surprise that tourists have a blast riding these buses. Social media is littered with images of ecstatic tourists taking pictures of them or taking selfies inside of them.

Getting around a large city such as London is sort of difficult, especially if you’re new to it. Even people who grew up in the city sometimes have problems getting around. It’s something that people from smaller towns can’t really fully comprehend. Check of the Transportation for London website as its journey planner can be of great help.

londonbus1The buses that roam through the streets of London are Roudmaster buses, which is the name of the manufacturer. What’s even more interesting is what an impact this humble vehicle had on pop culture and art. Many artists around the world have used the iconic sight of the London red bus in their works. It’s perhaps the British influence and their sense of humor which leads to these things becoming more valuable as a cultural icon than just a mean of transportation.

There’s no competing with the London Tube, it’s still Londoner’s favorite way of getting around and it’s the most efficient as well. However the price of riding the bus is much less than the Tube fees. For example a two way trip via the Tube in Zone 1 will cost you £5, while the same journey on the bus would cost roughly £2. Over the course of a few years this could add up to thousands in savings! So why is it that Londoners prefer using the Tube?

Many people have preconceived notions that buses are rough means of getting around, that it’s dirty and uncomfortable. The thing is that often time that is the case in more rural areas where buses aren’t taken care of simply because it’s not very cost-effective. London however doesn’t have that problem. The buses are regularly cleaned, maintained and kept in the best shape possible inside and out! The second reason is quite interesting. Many Londoners simply aren’t aware of the savings they could end up with if they just used the bus. The service isn’t very well promoted and it results in people not riding the big red buses. The third reason is convenience. All the bus fees are prepaid. Nowadays that’s not much of a problem because most people have Oyster cards but sometimes it’s a hassle topping it up or finding a place near by that’s selling them.

london red busesSo now that you’ve learned that riding the bus will save you money here are some tricks that might be helpful especially to those who are new to the city.

– It’s best to always have your Oyster card topped up and ready to go.

– You can, however, still use a contactless credit card or your smartphone’s NFC chip if you have this feature set up on your phone.

– Just £1 can buy you up to one hour of riding the London bus. By doing some simple math you’ll quickly realize what a bargain this is.

– Feel free to ask the Tube staff about any transportation issues you might be having. They can help you with the buses as well.

– A 7 day bus pass for a single person costs £20. The same amount can be spent on the Tube on a 4 zone journey.

– Minors under the age of sixteen can use the bus completely free of charge. All they have to do is apply and request a pass from the government.

– Buses often work late at night when the Tube doesn’t.

– Keep in mind that there are certain parts on the outskirts of London that cannot be easily reached by using the bus.