Bus Hopper arriving 12th Sept

One of the pledges made by Sadiq Khan during his mayoral campaign was to introduce a one hour bus hopper facility. By 2018 TfL hope to allow unlimited bus and tram journeys within the hour, but from next Monday, 12th September, it will be possible to make two journeys while only paying for one.

A second touch on a bus or tram within one hour of the first touch will not charge a new fare. After an hour (or after two touches) another touch on a bus or tram will charge a new fare. The daily bus cap still applies, so all bus and tram journeys after the first three chargeable ones are free – but you must still touch in.

One final note – just as a bus will break a multi-leg train journey, using a train will break a bus hopper so you’ll be charged another fare even if it is within one hour, unless you’ve reached a cap for the day. There is also a problem at Wimbledon where a bus journey after leaving the tram system will be charged, but if it shouldn’t have been it will be automatically refunded a few days later. Both these issues are expected to be fixed when the full bus hopper is rolled out in 2018.

18 thoughts on “Bus Hopper arriving 12th Sept”

  1. To clarify. On an outward journey two bus journeys within an hour of the first touch costs £1.50.

    If making a return journey later in the day – 2 buses within the hour, would the total cost for the day be £3 or would the return journeys count as 3&4 therefore the total being £4.50?

    • That would be £3.00. Each time you use two buses within an hour you will only be charged once.

  2. The ‘hopper’ fare has been available on the trams since they started in 2000, before this change it was at least 75 minutes to touch in again without being charged. I often got a return to Croydon for £1.50 (or the fare as it was then).

    • Hi Bob,

      Yes, it was actually 70 minutes, and it still is. They’ve used the same functionality but expanded it to include all buses, not just the trams and tram feeder buses. The expectation being publicised now is that the feature lasts for an hour so they don’t get too many complaints about traffic jams holding up the bus etc. I’ve successfully activated a hopper fare after 68 minutes, and unsuccessfully been charged again after 71.

  3. How does the system *work* if I make a journey A at 8:00, B at 8:40 and C at 9:20? Does it deduct £3 as two bus hopper fares, or as one bus hopper plus a single fare? Or does it go bonkers and charge £4.50 as three fares?

  4. Hi Mike, I’m not sure about this as I haven’t checked it myself, but a friend of mine reported that she used her Oyster successfully on one bus and then her Oyster did not work on the next bus within the hour. I’m assuming that the first bus used the ‘one more journey’ function on Oyster and sent it into a negative balance, which meant that it would not let her tap in, even though there would not have been any additional charge for taking the second bus. Unfortunately the driver was completely misinformed and said that she needed to pay again for the second journey as that is how the fares system works. Do you know whether this is in fact the behaviour, if a second bus will not accept an Oyster with a negative balance under ‘one more journey’?

    • Hi Keelan,

      If you activate the one more journey feature with the first journey then sadly you are not able to make a second ‘free’ journey unless you top up again. If you use a different card then you will have to pay again. If you top up the original Oyster card and touch in on the second bus within the hour then it will work and you won’t be charged.

  5. Of course, if you do what many ill-informed Tramlink passengers do and “touch out” after your tram journey before going getting a bus, you’ll then be charged for the bus trip.

    • Are there that many? I guess those that complain will have the system explained to them.

  6. I’m sure there can’t be that many, but I have occasionally seen people touching the yellow reader when getting off a tram also.

  7. Does the hopper work for a return journey? I.e if I get the 172 outbound at 08:00 then get the 172 home at 08:30, is the return fare £0 or £1.50? I have often done this journey and been charged a full £3? Does the second free ride only work if you are changing to a different bus route outbound?

    • Hi Ben,

      I’ve done out and return journeys using the same bus route and it worked for me. If you can copy journey history for a day when it didn’t work I can try and work out what might have been the problem.

  8. I saw on the Evening Standard website that unlimited bus transfers within the hour are coming this month, even if journeys are broken by a tube or rail journey. Nothing on the TFL website though, do you know anything about that?
    Spotting that old post just above this one I can confirm from experience that it does apply to return journeys on the same route.

    • Hi Nick,

      I know it’s coming, and that’s about it. I assume it does what it says, but will be sure to do some testing locally when it does arrive.

  9. I see the unlimited Hopper has been announced as going live today…
    I’ve found it can easily be possible on some long, popular routes for the second journey to be charged for again if there was bad traffic and then a wait for the connecting bus.
    Have you heard of TFL considering extending the 1 hour period to avoid discriminating against passengers who use a long route and need to connect at the end of it? Maybe 1h15 or 1h30 would more reliably cover even the longest of routes given London’s notorious congestion?

    • Hi Jon,

      No, I’ve not heard any plans. To be honest, you’re looking at this the wrong way. If you’re spending an hour on one bus you will almost certainly be getting good value for the £1.50 fare. The idea is where one bus won’t cover the journey you are making you shouldn’t have to pay for getting another in a short space of time.

      As with all things, the line has to be drawn somewhere.

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