Getting the most from TFL’s “Hopper fare”

Pic: Aubrey Morandarte

Pic: Aubrey Morandarte

Travelling across London can cost just £1.50, thanks to Transport for London’s new “Hopper fare”.

The scheme, which started last month, is a push to make travel more affordable for Londoners on lower incomes and is expected to make an estimated 30 million bus journeys free each year.

The new system lets passengers make a second bus or tram journey within one hour of beginning their first.

The Hopper fare will save money for thousands of commuters, as a journey to and from work every weekday will now cost Londoners just £15 per week – compared to a monthly bus travelcard which costs over £80.

London Travelwatch spokesperson, Richard Freeston-Clough, told ELL: “We support [the Hopper fare] very much. It makes it more affordable for people to travel by bus.

“People making long journeys into the centre of London might have found it difficult before but this halves to cost for them effectively so it makes it easier for them to access work.

“However, more work need to be done to give buses greater priority to encourage people to use them more.”

The scheme had been used one million times after just four days- transportation expert Christian Wolmar believes it will attract more commuters to the buses. He said: “Bus use has declined over the last couple of years and I think this will help.

“It’s rather overdue given the fact that you can travel on more than one Tube line and nobody thinks twice about it but you can’t with busses,” he told ELL.

“There was an equity issue, too, because bus users tend to be poorer so it’s a well-targeted fare reduction.”

The change is part of Sadiq Kahn’s plans to re-vamp transportation in the capital, having introduced the night Tube, announcing his intention to devolve suburban rail services to TfL control and expanding the Hopper fare to include unlimited travel on rail by 2018.

He said of the new scheme: “I’m hugely proud that our new Hopper fare will make bus travel cheaper for millions of Londoners travelling around our city.

“It wasn’t right that Londoners had to pay twice simply to change buses. It will make a particular difference to low-income families, many of whom still spend a large proportion of their wages on essential travel costs.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London, Richard Wood, told ELL: “Travelling on a bus in London is now cheaper and more convenient for millions of Londoners.

“The new fare will particularly benefit Londoners on lower incomes who often rely on the bus network to get around.

“Its success is shown by it receiving one million uses within the first week of its launch.”

London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to deliver this key commitment to London by the Mayor swiftly, enabling us to better meet the needs of those Londoners who live or work in areas which aren’t as well served by Tube or rail services.”

The East London Lines boroughs are some of the biggest beneficiaries from the scheme, giving greater and more convenient access to central and greater London.

Here are some of the best routes from Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Croydon to get the most out of your £1.50 using the Hopper fare:



  1. Shoreditch High Street to Richmond via Clapham Junction (344 and 337)

Estimated time: 2h 15 mins | Estimated distance: 18km | Cheapest cab fare: £26

Traveling from Shoreditch to Richmond will take the joint longest time of any routes on this list, so why not relax and think about the £24.50 you’ve saved in cab fares on your 2 hour, 15 minute pilgrimage away from the chaos of Central London.


  1. Stamford Hill to Tooting via Waterloo (243 and 77)

Estimated time: 2h 15 mins | Estimated distance: 18km | Cheapest cab fare: £27

Previously, £1.50 would only have taken you as far as Central London from the northern reaches of Hackney. Now, for the same price, you can enjoy a trip through the City, along the river and into South West London.


  1. Newington Green to Bellingham via Monument (21 and 47)

Estimated time: 2h 10 mins | Estimated distance: 14.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £21

The Hoper fare has made travelling between the ELL boroughs cheaper than ever. This route will take you from Newington Green in Hackney all the way to Bellingham in the south of Lewisham.


Tower Hamlets


  1. Bow Church to Acton Green via Oxford Circus (25 and 94)

Estimated time: 2h | Estimated distance: 17km | Cheapest cab fare: £25

Perhaps the most straightforward bus journey from East to West London available with the Hopper fare, this route will take you on a scenic ride, past London landmarks St. Paul’s Cathedral and Marble Arch before finishing it’s journey in Acton Green.


  1. East India Dock Road to Havering Park via Romford (N15 and 365)

Estimated time: 1h 15mins | Estimated distance: 16km | Cheapest cab fare: £18

The outskirts of London are more accessible than ever. The price of one bus ticket can get you from East India Dock to Havering Park on the border of Essex. Not bad, considering a train journey there can cost up to £5.10.


  1. Tower of London to Hammersmith via Aldwych (15 and 9)

Estimated time: 1h 30 mins | Estimated distance: 10.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £15

Arguably the most scenic route on this list, catching the 15 and the 13 will take you through the very heart of London, along the Strand and past Kensington Palace before terminating in Hammersmith.




  1. Lewisham Shopping Centre to Chartwell via Bromley South Station (208 and 246)

Estimated time: 1h 40 mins | Estimated distance: 25.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £29

The 246 runs to Chartwell on Sundays only, for what is likely the cheapest weekend away from London available. One of very few that will take you outside of the M25, this route will take you to rustic Chartwell, Kent, former home of Winston Churchill. At under six pence per kilometre, this route is by far the most cost efficient on the list.


  1. Deptford Bridge to Brent Cross via Oxford Circus (453 and 189)

Estimated time: 2h 5m | Estimate distance: 18.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £33

Although you may have to run to catch your second bus within an hour (meaning no time for Oxford Street shopping) this route will take you diagonally through inner London, travelling from the South East corner of the city to the North West.


  1. Lewisham Station to Queens Park via Westminster (436 and 36)

Estimated time: 1h 45 mins | Estimated distance: 15.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £21

£1.50 can now take you from Lewisham Station to Queens Park in West London via Westminster, saving little under £20 in cab fare and plenty of time by avoiding the heavy traffic of the City of London.




  1. Upper Beulah Hill to Willesden Bus Garage via Holborn (X68 and 98)

Estimated time: 2h | Estimated distance: 18.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £27

You’ll have to get up early to make this journey. The X68 only runs during morning peak times, meaning that if you’re heading to Willesden on a budget, you’ll be crammed in the first half of your trip with hurried morning commuters. But for £1.50, who can complain?


  1. East Croydon to Richmond via Wimbledon (Tramlink and 493)

Estimated time: 1h 35 mins | Estimated distance: 17.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £30

The new Hopper fare applies to South London’s Tramlink service as well as the bus network, meaning that commuting across South London from Croydon, in the South East, to Richmond, in the South West, is cheaper than ever.


  1. Selhurst Park Stadium to Shepard’s Bush via Elephant & Castle (468 and 148)

Estimated time: 2h | Estimated distance: 15.5km | Cheapest cab fare: £23

Why not put the £1.50 that the Hopper fare will have saved you towards a new pair of shoes when this route takes you from Selhurst Park, to Shepherd’s Bush’s Westfield Shopping Centre?

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