I find it vexing and confusing that, while I can get a price for any train ticket, coach ticket, plane ticket, taxi fare etc., there's no obvious way to look up the price of a bus ticket. First - who are the main bus company in the county where I live - will give you the price of fixed tickets like their all day pass, all week pass, and so on, but no indication of what it costs to get between two points. Am I being silly and missing something obvious?

So the question is twofold:

1) How can I work out the cost of a bus fare in the UK?

2) Why is there no obvious facility for calculating bus fares?

  • 2
    you might want to see this question for a list of bus companies in the UK - going to their sites will give you prices for whatever routes they serve, including between airports and cities etc
    – greyshade
    Sep 5, 2014 at 9:19
  • 3
    Welcome to the UK ha ha :)
    – user9533
    Sep 5, 2014 at 9:21
  • 2
    I spent an hour-long train journey trying to find out a) how much the buses were in the UK city I was going to and b) how to actually pay (e.g. exact change?). Impossible. I took a taxi... :( Sep 5, 2014 at 15:25
  • Bus, or coach? Bus fares are usually only a pound or so, and can not be booked or pre-paid online. You just wait at the bus stop, hop on the next bus, and pay with cash/contactless. Coaches (which travel between cities) can be pre-booked. You’ll need to visit the website of the coach company. Jun 6, 2020 at 8:02
  • That's not true of every city. Bus fares are £1 for students where I live, but at least £5 for everyone in my hometown.
    – Lou
    Jun 6, 2020 at 8:21

4 Answers 4


Since privatisation in the 80s/90s UK bus services are run by a vastly complicated array of private companies with overlapping and disparate jurisdictions, journeys, fares and services.

Local services are run by many, many companies, often with overlapping routes. Sometimes the same route will be run by two companies!

There are also national services such as National Express and Megabus.

Your best bet to try and make sense of this is to contact Travelline or your local bus station/tourist information point.

In London you can also contact Transport For London (TFL).

The bus driver may also be able to help, provided they're in a good mood (not guaranteed)

  • 2
    Privation is a lack of essentials needed for survival; Privatization is the act of (in the way you're attempting to use) transferring a company from being operated by the government or locality to be run by a privately-owned (usually for-profit) company
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 5, 2014 at 17:51
  • 1
    In London the base charge is currently £1.45 but there is a system of caps that means that how much a bus fare costs depends on what other journeys you have made previously that day/week on all forms of public transport. There are also a number of special cased transfers that can change the cost. Determining how much you will pay is a challenge. You also can no longer pay cash and card payments can only be made using contact-less. Or you can use the oyster card system. Dec 18, 2014 at 2:39

I would add to Liam's excellent answer above:

http://www.transportdirect.info/, a Government funded transport website, sometimes has fare information for local bus services.

You can work out an arbitarily complex journey and click "Tickets/Costs" and it will attempt to give you an idea of the costs. If it can't, it will point you towards a relevant website that does operated by the bus company.

EDIT: Now closed, which is unfortunate.

  • 3
    +1 for the site, but I did look there for a picked-at-random bus journey operated by First, and guess what? "Transport Direct does not currently have this fare information. Check for operator fares", with a link to First's not-especially-helpful site...
    – AakashM
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:25
  • @AakashM. Indeed, I said sometimes! Unfortunately, the last time I used it was a few years ago when it did have some more far information IIRC and I haven't been able to find an actual example. However, the site is a useful proxy for getting pointed to the best place, even if those operator websites can be less-than-helpful! For example, planning a journey from Land's End to John O'Groats by bus will both tell you a route and the appropriate operator so that you can find out ticket choices.
    – undershock
    Sep 5, 2014 at 15:15

if at any point you are in Northern Ireland, Translink has all of their fares on their website, so you know in advance exactly how much a journey will cost - http://www.translink.co.uk/Fares/


An option is Busbud. They actually post occasionally on this site.

For example, you can use it to see prices across a week for a trip from London to Manchester and it will show fares from multiple companies, giving you a comparison and choice.

So I would argue there are obvious choices, once you know about them ;)

  • 3
    Having just looked at the London to Manchester link, I would say they are coaches rather than buses. Buses tend to be more local journeys that make lots of stops. I wouldn't dream of getting a bus from London to Manchester (you would certainly need a lot of changes to do this on a bus).
    – emmalgale
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:17
  • Ah, to me those are buses as well, much like the first half of @Liam's answer above :/ I recognise that local city buses are unlikely to show up on busbud.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:19
  • 1
    It's not unheard of for pensioners, using their free local bus passes, to make long journeys using only buses (local) and not coaches. Here's one such example of a couple doing that, from one end of the country to the other!
    – Gagravarr
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:47
  • 1
    @Gagravarr they changed the rules so that they can't do that anymore :)
    – JamesRyan
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:50
  • Some kid did it in 4 days!
    – user9533
    Sep 5, 2014 at 15:10

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