Using public transport can seem a daunting prospect when travelling alone, let alone with a group of children & young people to keep safe. However, when travelling around London it can be the cheapest and quickest way to get around. In order to assist leaders, we have put together some guidance that will help leaders when using public transport in London.
In the majority of cases, the quickest and simplest way of travelling around central London is by bus, however the underground can be useful if travelling a longer distance. We would recommend that when getting on and off the underground, you split the group so they can board or alight the train through two sets of doors and have a leader standing at each door until the whole group is on or off the train.
To work out the single fares between two locations, you can use the single fares finder on the TfL website. For those children & young people who travel into London a lot, or who live in one of the London Boroughs, a zip oyster card could be beneficial and a summary is provided below.
Children Under 5
Children Under 5 travel free with a fare paying adult.
Children aged 5-10
Children aged 5-10 can get free travel on the Underground, DLR, London Overground and part of the Elizabeth Line, as well free travel on most National Rail services that accept pay as you go with a 5-10 Zip Oyster Photocard. Unless a child looks older than 10, you don’t need a Zip Oyster photocard to travel free on buses or trams, or to buy child-rate paper tickets.
For more information on the 5-10 Zip Oyster, please visit the TfL website.
Children aged 11-15
Children aged 11-15 can travel free on buses and trams if they have an 11-15 Zip Oyster, which must be applied for by their parent or carer. The 11-15 Zip Oyster also entitles the holder to child rate pay as you go fares on the Underground, DLR, London Overground and part of the Elizabeth Line.
If you don’t live in London and you’re visiting with children who don’t have an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard, they can get discounted travel for up to 14 days with the Young Visitor discount which can be added to a standard Oyster card by a member of staff at any Underground or London Overground Station. More information on the 11-15 Zip Oyster can be found on the TfL website.
Children aged 16 & 17
Children aged 16 & 17 can get 50% off adult pay as you go fares on bus, underground, DLR, London Overground and part of the Elizabeth Line with a 16+ Zip Oyster which must be applied for in advance. For those in full time education, the discount increases to free travel on buses and trams. The TfL website provides all the information you need if you are travelling with young people in this age group.
National Rail Services
National Rail Services that are not operated on behalf of Transport for London have separate rules on child fares and so it is always worth checking the National Rail Website for the latest information on the rules around National Rail tickets. Group Travel discounts can also make travelling by train a lot more affordable than you might think.
This page was last updated on 30th January 2023