How Not To Pay Twice When Your Bus Terminates Early

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 27 months ago
How Not To Pay Twice When Your Bus Terminates Early
Photo by Colin Morgan from the Londonist Flickr pool

It's a familiar scenario: the bus has terminated early or broken down and everyone needs to pile off. You're travelling on Pay As You Go and you're furious that you'll need to pay another £1.50 to finish your journey. But wait: did you know you should get a transfer ticket from the driver?

We're willing to bet that many people don't know about this — particularly given how few will go see the driver before disembarking. It's very simple: the driver will give you a paper ticket that is valid for any other bus within an hour of being issued. (You used to have to get a bus on the same route but, as London Reconnections explained in 2013, that was changed to make things a little simpler.)

It's only fair to have a system that doesn't penalise passengers for a disruption that isn't their fault, but it's not something that gets much publicity. We thought we'd do a little something about that and share a tip to make travelling around London a bit cheaper. And less annoying. Occasionally.

Last Updated 01 February 2016

Continued below.


I've done that a couple of times. It's annoying that Oyster is not at all optimised for bus travel, change bus and you have to pay again. Change underground lines and it's a single fare.

Aidan Stevens

Um... there has been an announcement for what must be over a year now advising people to get a transfer ticket from the driver when the bus terminates early.

Annabel Smyth

Last time I was on a bus that broke down, the driver announced that if you'd paid a fare you should get a transfer ticket from him, and in fact asked every passenger as they got off if they were sure they didn't need one!

Geoff Marshall

Some people don't seem to realise either there is a £4.50 cap on bus fares. Once you've made 3 journeys in a day, the rest are free. So if the bus breaks down/terminates early on your 3rd bus that day .. no need to get a transfer ticket!

(I have been on a 65 that terminated early, and the bus driver did not offter transfer tickets, I ended up telling people at the bus stop that they were entitled to one...)


Are people with pushchairs who are requested to exit for a wheelchair user offered one? I think 2 might be about right.

Tabish Khan

This should be the case but I've been on many buses where passengers have asked for a transfer ticket, and the driver has refused to give one. It would be useful to know what rights passengers have in these situations. Drivers should also be encouraged to announce that transfer tickets are available. Some do, but others don't.

Laurence Scales

I use buses all the time. It is the first time I ever heard of a transfer ticket. TFL keep quiet about it. The way public transport has traditionally worked is that the worse the service the more you had to pay.


In theory also you may wait on the terminating bus for the following bus to arrive before getting off.... This is for security, and of course if your bus is terminating early there should be another going right through close behind (!! Yeah right!!)... How many terminating bus drivers will let you stay on and wait...??!!

As the terminating early trick has usually followed a period of dawdling/driving unnecessarily slowly in order to cause the "late running" this is a well known driver ploy to "get out of work".... It then usually gets blamed on traffic congestion which in my experience is less likely to be the ACTUAL reason than "driver shirking"... But TFL seem to tolerate it, and then DON'T penalise the bus company for it.... I would say this dawdling and unnecessary hanging about is one of the MAJOR contributors to the recent downturn in bus usage after many years of constant increases... But I doubt TFL will ever acknowledge they have a major problem in this area.... Let alone start doing something about it...! Have u noticed how much longer your bus journey seems to be taking than it actually needs to...?

Jimmy Antoniades

What you did not mention was for those who board the bus from the beginning & the destination is displayed very clearly , even if not the original, then you are not entitled to a ticket because it was displayed before departing .
Only those who were on the bus before any curtailment was given , they are the ones who are actually given the transfe ticket.
Also it is only valid for any bus that goes along in the direction the bus was heading .
Tfl's red book states this , or it's the drivers discretion. Revenue inspectors may not see it & issue a penalty fare .
All in all it's not fair if you are a passenger.