UK Transport Wiki
Transport for London
TypeLocal Government body
FoundedGreater London Authority Act 1999
HeadquartersGreater London
Key peopleMayor of London / GLA

Transport for London (TfL) is a local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system throughout Greater London in England. The role of TfL 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 Ken Livingstone, 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.


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



Transport for London's roundels

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

  • London Rail - responsible for:
    • Co-ordination with the operators that provide National Rail service within London.
    • London Overground.
    • Docklands Light Railway - normally abbreviated to DLR, it 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 sub-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, largely by sub-contracting services to private sector bus operators.
    • London Dial-a-Ride - 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 and other private hire vehicles.
    • Victoria Coach Station - owns and operates London's principal terminal for long distance bus and coach services.
    • Cycling Centre of Excellence - promotes cycling in London
    • Walking - Promotes better pedestrian access.
    • London Road Safety Unit - promotes safer roads through advertising and road safety measure.
    • Transport Policing and Enforcement - responsible for enforcing traffic and parking regulations on the Red routes, 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.
    • Freight Unit - which is currently developing the London Freight Plan and is heavily involved with setting up and supporting a number of Freight Quality Partnerships covering key areas of London.

Each of the above 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 Transport for London have their own charging and ticketing regimes. As an exception, 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 standalone 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 does, however, have 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. Additionally, it is available at kiosks and some payphones throughout London. The Journey Planner is also available via mobile phone applications - some mobile phone network operators may charge to access this service.

Mentions in 2006 honours list[]

After the attacks 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 the survivors out, removed the 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)

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 not able to be displayed 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.

Transport for London website[]

TfL's website, found at includes information on all aspects of operation, from corporate affairs to 'real time' travel disruption news.

See also[]

External links[]

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