please empty your brain below

You probably knew all about it anyway.
I wonder if it's because in other places they have an even better deal? I read your list the other day of the mayoral manifestos and Sadiq Khan made me "hurrah" with his pledge for a Hopper ticket, for any number of bus journeys in an hour.

More years ago than seems fair I went to San Francisco, and was well-impressed with their system - you bought a bus ticket and it came in two halves. You gave the first half to your bus driver, and then the second half to your next bus driver if it was within the hour. At the time I didn't dare drive in the US, but this happy system got me all over town cheaply. I've wondered ever since why we don't have something similar here - it always seems unfair that any connecting bus journeys have to be paid for (e.g. recently I had to get from Greenwich to Brixton - easiest way apparently was two buses, to make one journey. Us poor South Londoners will, I suspect, use connecting bus journeys more often than others in London).

So the cap after 3 fares is good, and they should shout about it more, you're right - but I still think either a two-buses or unlimited buses within an hour is something to aim for too.
I knew about only because a friend of mine uses buses a lot and had told me about it.
The reason for the cap is that it was set at the old level of the One Day Bus Pass (since retired, and then brought back in a tourist form). Since TfL are highly reluctant to 'take anything away' for political reasons (see the fares mess for journeys within the high numbered zones on the former Shenfield Metro), the day pass was preserved as the cap.

Interestingly, often in other areas of the country, the one-day bus pass is set around, effectively providing free bus connections on a return ticket. (Eg: National Express West Midlands: single £2.30, Daysaver £4.40).
^ set around the level of two singles
There's an important difference (well, I think it's important) between day travelcards elsewhere and Oyster's cap. With Oyster, you do not have to decide, at the time of the first journey, whether or not you are going to use lots of buses.

The freedom to be spontaneous (and accept a lift if offered, walk if it's sunny, etc) is great.
Yes, we all knew about this. but it's because you're Travelcard and not PAYG that you didn't, right?
TfL don't see their role as 'marketing' or 'promoting' bus travel to encourage greater use as happens in the commercial world and can be seen in some great examples in provincial towns and cities (albeit there are some awful examples too). TfL sees bus travel more like a utility which passengers are informed about rather than enticed to use - hence why the "get your fourth bus journey free" message doesn't feature, but rather the mechanics of a "daily cap" are advised instead.
Similar characteristics apply to bus design and comfort where a TfL specified bus is basic compared to significant improvements being introduced elsewhere e.g. Transdev's new buses on route 36 between Leeds, Harrogate and Ripon or Stagecoach Gold and Arriva Sapphire buses which are trying to encourage people to bus travel. In TfL land it's just a bus. Even the so called high quality routes between Barking Riverside and Ilford (EL1 and EL2) are basic.
Until January it was £4.40 so you effectively got part of your third journey free.

I switched to PAYG last year - for me it works out cheaper than having an annual travelcard - and if you study your bills you get to learn all this stuff.
I think it's because I have a Travelcard, so all my bus journeys come free

You have a Travelcard so you have already paid in advance for unlimited use of buses whether you use them or not. They don't come free but the marginal cost of a bus journey is 0p.
Trams are also charged as a bus fare, so the cap comes in really useful on my bus/tram connecting journey.
Well I am a 99% bus only PAYG user and I had no idea, so thanks for that!

Most times I deliberately do not get a bus to save money!!
In fact just two days ago I took 3 buses, and made the 15-20 minute walk in the rain to save on the 4th!! If only I'd known then!
I always knew that but very rarely have taken advantage of it because I generally go to London for a purpose, so my travel is to and from a specific place. Except last time, when I didn't notice my stop and had to retrace my journey on the next bus,
Now why would TfL, as a profit-making organisation, publicise the fact that people could get things for free? Wouldn't that lower their income?
When I first came to London, this was one of the first things my friends told me.
"TfL, as a profit-making organisation,"

It isn't - unlike a private sector operator its prime remit is to provide a service, not to make money. As they often tell you, any surplus over operating expenditure goes into service improvements, not shovelled into shareholders' dividends.

It wouldn't lower their income because you get the capping benefit even if you don't know about it unless you do something perverse and pay for your bus journeys using different Oystercards/wave and pay cards.

They get a very minor additional cost of the marginal cost of providing your fourth and subsequent journey which could be nothing or, on a busy route, mean more buses to cater for all the additional journeys made by the attractiveness of the three-journey cap.

And what timbo says.
Maybe TFL would be more keen to promote bus travel if there weren't already so many crowded buses.
I doubt there are many people in London have to take four or more bus trips per day. Besides, elsewhere £4.5 is quite a lot. In Hong Kong I only spend £1.5 every day, and only those living on the outlying islands need to pay as much as £4.5.
Any two bus commute, surely?
@Planner I think in a lot of places they abolished the return fare (normally cheaper than two singles or the one day rover), instead forcing people to pay more for the same journeys to (for eg) work
Old news for some...though it odd how few people jnow about it. Useful for me as I have a phobia of trains/the tube
"It wouldn't lower their income "

In fact it might even increase it. Supermarkets do this all the time. If you know you can get four (or more!) for the price of three, you are less likely to buy only two, or indeed none at all.

£3 for two bus journeys is quite steep. £4.50 for four is a better bargain. And if I make those two extra journeys by bus instead of walking or taking a taxi or staying at home, TfL gets an extra £1.50.
The cap is on the card rather than the traveller and as tfl are happy for more than one person to use the same PAYG oyster I often swap cards with other family members during the day to make the most of this.
I just became your only follower on Disqus! I was looking at Londonist's top commenters when you came up, so I clicked 'follow'. I didn't realise I would be your only one!

Indeed. Which goes against the way we were brought up with "non transferable" stamped on all tickets. A long while ago I printed off the relevant answer to a FAQ on the TfL website just in case I ever got challenged on this point.

Note: Season tickets allocated to an individual are definitely NOT transferable but I suspect 7-day ones are or (if not) no-one really cares.
Naturally you mention this on one of my 'bus-only' days.

When money is tight and time is not an issue, it's a fantastic way to go to many places in one day. Or indeed try out the newest buses as I was today...
If the wind's in the right direction, and it's a full moon, I can make a connection from my bus to work for another one that gets me slightly closer, thus making me a two bus commuter - and the free fourth journey makes me more likely to attempt the same on the way home.

(It still takes twice as long as cycling though, so I mostly do that - but it's nice to have the option)
The problem with this is that I feel taking 3 buses is a bad deal, since it's the same price as taking 10 buses.

So if I need to make only 3 bus journeys in a day, I try to walk the third instead.

And if I need to make 4, then I'll try my best to turn it into 6 or 8. In these cold months sometimes I take needless bus journeys instead of turning on the heating at home.
@ PoP - no season ticket / Travelcard is transferable regardless of how long it is valid for or if there is a photocard or not. Day Travelcards are not transferable either.

It is also worth saying that you cannot transfer any ticket or Oyster Card that is linked to any form of concession / discount. That rules out Income Support, Jobcentre Plus, Apprentice, child / student, privilege, Gold Card and railcard discounts. Needless to say things like 60+ Oyster, Veterans Passes and Freedom Passes are definitely not transferable. Using any of these forms of card when you are not the named holder is a serious offence and you'll most likely be looking at a prosecution if caught.

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