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How far can you go with the £1.50 hopper fare?

Ian Aikman

As the smash hit nursery rhyme goes, ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round’. From now on, the wheels on the bus will go round and round and round, because TfL has recently introduced the new hopper fare. Named not for the intimidating 'A Bug’s Life villain' or the Soho restaurant, but for the way it allows travellers to hop on and off of two buses for the price of one as long as both taps take place within an hour. It's a system that could save travellers millions of pounds, but just how far can your £1.50 take you? Here are some of the longest – and oddest – journeys you can make by bus to get the most mileage for your money. 

South London: Bromley to Heathrow Airport (25.28 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes)

The X26 bus route is massive, but with the hopper fare you can make it even longer. Take any journey that starts up to 59 minutes from East Croydon, jump on the X26 and you can have an international holiday for just £1.50 (plus the actual flight costs).  

Travellers could take the 119 from Bromley North, the 75 from Forest Hill or the 410 from Crystal Palace. All of these journeys take just under an hour, giving you a precious few minutes to mentally prepare yourself for the mammoth two-hour X26 ride. Just make sure you find somewhere to put your luggage or you may end up having to sit with your arms wrapped around it on your lap. If this happens, put it under your shirt and pretend you’re pregnant. It’s more fun that way.


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West London: Ealing Broadway to Chessington World of Adventures (13.53 miles, about an hour and a half)

Who knew you could get from the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’ (West London’s Ealing) to the best theme park in the UK that's not Thorpe Park or Legoland or Alton Towers in just two bus journeys?

Go on as many roller coasters as you like at Chessington World of Adventures, but the wildest and best value for money ride of your day by far will be the dual journeys on the 65 from Ealing Broadway to Kingston, and then the 71 from Kingston to Chessington. Needless to say we are talking about Kingston upon Thames here, not Kingston, Jamaica. No amount of tapping can get you there for £1.50.


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East London: Romford to Whitechapel (12.9 miles, about an hour)

Once described as ‘my New York’ by Underworld’s Karl Hyde, Romford is so far out east you’d assume the only way to travel more central would be to shell out for a Zone 6 travelcard. But you don't have to. Catch a No 5 and switch to a No 115 at Aintree Avenue and you'll be in Whitechapel in around one hour. A short long journey, but a long journey nonetheless.

Central London: King’s Cross to Uxbridge (at night) (17 miles, about an hour and a half)

Perhaps disappointingly un-Harry Potter-like for those riding them for the first time, night bus routes are often longer than their daytime counterparts, making them the perfect choice for anyone who wants to take one of the city’s longest two-tap bus journeys.  

When the nocturnal buses wake up, board the N73 from King’s Cross to Oxford Circus, where you'll be seconds from the central London nightlife. You have around 40 minutes to spare before you leap onto the N207 and cruise on out to Uxbridge. If you live anywhere on the N207 route, jump out wherever you live and get some well-earned sleep. If you don't live in Uxbridge or along this route and are taking this journey purely for the bragging rights, congratulations. You can brag.


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North London: Camden Town to Ilford (11.71 miles, about two and a half hours) 

The simple trip from inner north London to outer north London would only take 45 minutes if you used the tube, but that’s not the point of all this.

Catch a C2 to Oxford Circus. Again, you have a lot of time to kill here since that first journey only takes 17 minutes, so use it wisely by stocking up on food and drink supplies for the next leg. Once you’re ready, tap onto a 25 and make yourself at home. If you bought any decorations from Oxford Street, hang them in the windows, fluff up your cushions and throw on your throw. The next ride takes a solid 2 hours and 17 minutes. That’s nearly the length of a 'Lord of the Rings' movie.

Once you arrive in Ilford, straighten your legs and walk around, arms outstretched, knowing that you just got over two and a half hours of sweet travelling for just £1.50. 

In more bus news, here's why London bus routes are numbered like they are.

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