London Wiki

Transport for London (TfL) is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London.


TfL is controlled by a board whose members are appointed by the Mayor of London, a position currently held by Boris Johnson, who also chairs the Board. The Commissioner of Transport for London (Peter Hendy since 17 January 2006) reports to the Board and leads a management team with individual functional responsibilities.


TfL was created in 2000 as part of the Greater London Authority by the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It gained most of its functions from its predecessor London Regional Transport in 2000. It did not take over responsibility for the London Underground until 2003, after the controversial Public-private partnership (PPP) contract for maintenance had been agreed. Management of the Public Carriage Office had previously been a function of the Metropolitan Police.

Transport for London Group Archives holds business records for TfL and its predecessor bodies and transport companies. Some early records are also held on behalf of TfL Group Archives at the London Metropolitan Archives.


TfL is organised in three main directorates and corporate services, each with responsibility for different aspects and modes of transport. The three main directorates are:

  • London Underground, responsible for running London's underground rail network, commonly known as the tube, and managing the provision of maintenance services by the private sector. This network is sub-divided into three service delivery units:
  • London Rail, responsible for:
    • Co-ordination with the operators that provide National Rail service within London.
    • London Overground.
    • Docklands Light Railway: normally abbreviated DLR, this is the automatically driven light rail network in East London, although actual operation and maintenance is undertaken by a private sector franchisee.
    • London Trams, responsible for managing London's tram network, by contracting to private sector operators. At present the only tram system is Tramlink in south London, but others are proposed.
  • Surface transport, consisting of:
    • London Buses, responsible for managing the red bus network throughout London as well as the East London Transit, largely by contracting services to private sector bus operators.
    • London Dial-a-Ride, which provides paratransit services throughout London.
    • London River Services, responsible for licensing and coordinating passenger services on the River Thames within London.
    • London Streets, responsible for the management of London's strategic road network.
    • London Congestion Charge.
    • Public Carriage Office, responsible for licensing the famous Black Cabs [1] and other private hire vehicles.
    • Victoria Coach Station, which owns and operates London's principal terminal for long distance bus and coach services.
    • Delivery Planning , which promotes cycling in London and
    • Walking, which promotes better pedestrian access.
    • London Road Safety Unit, which promotes safer roads through advertising and road safety measure.
    • Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, responsible for tackling fare evasion on buses, delivering policing services that tackle crime and disorder on public transport in cooperation with the Metropolitan Police Service's Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) and the British Transport Police.
    • Traffic Enforcement, responsible for enforcing traffic and parking regulations on the red routes
    • Freight Unit, which is currently developing the "London Freight Plan" and is involved with setting up and supporting a number of Freight Quality Partnerships covering key areas of London.

Each of the main units has its own corporate identity, formed by differently-coloured versions of the standard roundel and adding appropriate lettering across the horizontal bar. The roundel rendered in blue without any lettering represents TfL as a whole (see Transport for London logo). The same range of colours is also used extensively in publicity and on the TfL website.


Most of the transport modes that come under the control of TfL have their own charging and ticketing regimes. Buses and trams share a common fare and ticketing regime, and the DLR and the Underground another.

Superimposed on these mode-specific regimes is the Travelcard system, which provides zonal tickets with validities from one day to one year, and off-peak variants. These are accepted on the DLR, buses, railways, trams, the Underground and provides a discount on many river services fares.

The Oyster card is a contactless smart card system introduced for the public in 2003, which can be used to pay individual fares (Pay as you go (PAYG), formerly "prepay") or to carry various Travelcards and other passes. It is used by holding the card close to the yellow card reader (though touching it flat is recommended). Card readers are found on ticket gates where otherwise a paper ticket could be fed through, allowing the gate to open and the passenger to walk through, and on stand-alone Oyster validators, which do not operate a barrier. Oyster PAYG can only be used on a limited selection of National Rail routes in London. Oyster PAYG has a set of daily maximum charges that are cheaper than buying a Travelcard for those not using the parts of National Rail where Oyster PAYG is not valid.

Journey planning[]

TfL has developed an electronic "Journey Planner", which enables users to plan journeys by multiple modes in and around London. Accessible online on both computers, tablets, ipads and smartphones, it is also available at kiosks and some payphones throughout London.

Alcohol ban[]

On 1 June 2008, alcoholic beverages were banned on trains, buses, trams, Docklands Light Railway and all stations across London. Carrying open containers of alcohol was also banned on public transport. The Mayor of London and TfL announced the ban with the intention of providing a safer and more pleasant experience for passengers.

There were "Last Round on the Underground" parties on the night before the ban came into force. Until bye-laws are altered to incorporate the ban the only enforcement action available is confiscation of the alcohol and/or ejection from the London Transport network.

Mentions in 2006 honours list[]

After the bombings on the underground and bus systems on 7 July 2005, many staff were recognised in the 2006 New Year honours list for the heroic work they did. They helped survivors out, removed bodies, and got the transport system up and running, to get the millions of commuters back out of London at the end of the work day. Those mentioned include Peter Hendy, who was at the time Head of Surface Transport division, and Tim O'Toole, head of the Underground division, who were both awarded CBEs.

Others include:

  • David Boyce, Station Supervisor, London Underground (MBE)
  • John Boyle, Train Operator, London Underground (MBE)
  • Peter Sanders, Group Station Manager, London Underground (MBE)

London Transport Museum[]

TfL owns and operates the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, a museum that conserves and explains London's transport heritage. The museum also has an extensive depot, situated at Acton, that contains material impossible to display at the central London museum, including many additional road vehicles, trains, collections of signs and advertising materials. The depot has several open weekends each year.

See also[]

  1. Tube Map
  2. Tramlink
  3. London Buses
  4. London Overground
  5. Docklands Light Railway
  6. London Underground
  7. Emirates Air Line (cable car)