Archived: Journey Planner – More options now available

From today you’ll notice that we’re now providing more options by default in Journey Planner.

In addition to the fastest public transport journey, we now also calculate bus only, Santander cycles, cycling and walking journeys. Through other buttons on the journey results you can access routes for full step-free access, least walking and fewest changes.

We’ve also fixed some problems people were having with planning from certain stations like Watford Junction, which stemmed from a data issue.

updates to JP
Journey Planner now offers more default options for completing your journey, with many more improvements to follow in the near future.

This adds to the work we’ve done recently on improving places of interest, now achieved through the Google Places API and on printing, where whatever you’ve selected on screen will now be reflected in the print – so if you want the maps you just need to expand them and they will print. If it’s not printing as you expect you may have to select the options to print backgrounds and headers/footers.

We’re now moving on to improvements in planning beyond London boundaries, looking at putting fares into the planner, making further improvements for cycling and much more.

As always we’d love to know what you think and if you have any problems with the Journey Planner or other aspects of the website.

You can let us know what you think by commenting on this blog or contacting our customer services team.


  1. I’m still hoping for a Freedom Pass routing — perhaps that might come as part of “looking at putting fares into the planner” ?

    Journey Planner currently seems to have a problem routing between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations. This is a direct rail route, as the JP at confirms, but even if “travel outside London” is ticked, the TFL JP currently cannot plan this journey.

  2. Forget that Cheshunt problem — I had forgotten about a leftover VIA from a previous journey which was confusing it.

    Back to the Freedom Pass problem — the eventual requirement is to be able to plan a journey from Tottenham Hale to Cheshunt (both FP stations) without going via Waltham Cross. The answer in that case is tube to Seven Sisters and TFL rail to Cheshunt — but if you take a different journey (eg Brimsdown to Cheshunt) avoiding Waltham Cross would involve a much more complicated route which would be difficult to guess.

  3. After a year, the system is still a massive failure. I have screenshots of Walthamstow Central situated outside Tesco at Bakers Arms. Yesterday, I assisted an Australian at Finsbury Park and walked him to his W7 bus for Muswell Hill, none of which is shown in JP. You suggest going by Archway? Heathrow to Finsbury Park did not even offer the Picadilly Line.

    Many times I have tried to type in a location (eg. Leyton) and the input box scrambles it to ‘yLe…’, no wonder that this is next to useless while sitting on a moving bus.

    I am an industrial programmer and troubleshooter, the kind of guy you want on a broken-down train. In my world, one single bit may mean ‘stop the train now!’. I take computers and systems seriously and have little faith in you, reading the IT ‘BS’ blog of nonsense from your managers.

    Stop celebrating and fix it.

    1. Hi Roy. Journey Planner does a really good job for most people but we’ll take a look at the example you’ve given. For the issues with auto-suggest it would be useful to know what browser and operating system you are using as we don’t see these issues in any of our test environments and we’ve not had any similar reports before. It might also be helpful to know if you are on a corporate or home network.

      1. Hi Phil,

        I was mobile on all trips with a Samsung SIII. I somehow found my way home and duplicated the bad results with my desktop PCs (XP / Ubuntu) and the heavy iron of old and newest Raspberry Pi2 Raspbian latest.

        Today all I see is the red bus going around for 10 minutes at 1130.

        Maps often put me at TrafSq and I know where the Uganda High Comm is.

        1. Hi Roy, maps put you at Trafalgar square where your device/browser does not report its location. What web browser are you using on those devices? Bear in mind we have 10 million unique users on the site, many of which are on Journey Planner. I’ve not heard of issues of this sort before except on unusual or legacy equipment, operating systems or browsers. However if there is something out there which affects many users we’d like to get to the bottom of it.

          1. Hi Phil,
            1. Just today I duplicated the truncated Leyton – Walthamstow Central glitch that drops me at Hoe St/Lea Bridge Road Tesco, on Windows = Firefox 40, Chrome; Samsung = stock browser and Chrome; and RaspberryPi2B Debian Iceweasel & Chromium. The database does not compute with your ‘Agile’ agenda. I reported this many weeks ago. The errors occur on every system that I use.

            2. I have seen the text-scrambling on multiple OS, especially mobile On The Buses – RIP Blakey

            3. I appreciate your millions of hits and users but as a lifelong trouble-shooter (-maker) I think about the billions of misdirected trips and the revenue generated by people who blindly follow your planner.

            4. The most direct (cheapest, fastest) should be the default. T123 – Finsbury Pk should not default to Paddington by Heathrow Express (which is not a part of tfl).

            5. The Uganda High Commission map is a default even when a valid route is displayed with all stops and appears on mobile and desktop. Just happened with a search of South Acton / Gunnersbury.?

            6. I do not have to go out of my way to find problems; only reporting what I see in my personal travels and plans.

            7. You should be testing with the systems that people use.

            Roy S

      2. I’ve had the text-scrambling thing in the location input box, too, generally on OS X/Safari or OS X Chrome. It’s only occasional, but it isn’t half frustrating.

    2. Yes, I’ve seen the location box problem — after typing a couple of characters, a list of suggestions is produced and the cursor randomly jumps back to the beginning of the input box so you are now continuing to type in front of the character you previously entered. It happens randomly not every time and I guess it depends exactly how fast you type in relation to the line speed at the time.

      I’m reporting this from memory and can’t be sure whether its the From field of the journey planner or the Location field of Nearby that has that problem.

      In my case, the phone is a ZTE Open C running FirefoxOS 1.3 so nothing very common with previous reports.

      Concerning Nearby, one thing I find extremely irritating is that it changes its mind in the middle of an operation whether it is going to display a *list* of stops or a map. I start the program, if I’m lucky it works out where I am and I see a list of local stops in distance order. I’m at stop E so I start scrolling down to select it — but before I can do so, the display changes to a map that completely hides the list of stops. OK, so I wait while it draws the map (usually fast) but there are not yet any stops shown, Ages later some dots appear but still cannot be selected. Twice ages later I finally get some stop letters on the map and can select one but then there’s a further delay before I finally get to the times at that stop.

      On mobile — if I’m already beside stop E, I don’t really need a map to tell me where the stop is because I’m already there and I certainly don’t need a map which hides the list of stops. But I can see it might be useful to display the map straight off on a desktop. So I’d say if I’m close to the bus stop, just display the list and add just a link to display the map if needed. Or, if there’s no stops close by, that’s the time to display the map — but in this case, it needs to zoom out so that at least the nearest pair of stops are on screen.

  4. What’s happened to the journey planner?
    It no longer displays tube options!
    It is showing bus options that take 3x as long.
    Please please fix it.

  5. Bus only option is really annoying if you don’t use buses regularly, I live in zone 5 and use the site to work out which combination of trains/tubes to get into the centre. The resulting change means that instead of filling in the form and immediately getting a page of results, I fill in the form and then have another click before I see all the results. This makes it less practical if you’re checking results on the move or in a rush.

    1. Hi AJ. We’re seeking a good balance between all forms of transport in the Journey Planner and I appreciate for some people the quickest options on public transport are the only ones of interest. However customers have also asked us to provide more choice, hence the bus only option, cycling and walking. We are looking at a greater degree of personalisation so you can customise the site to your needs and preferences, which should give more control. In the meantime we took care to pre-load three fastest public transport journeys, so while it may be an extra selection it takes no time to retrieve.

      1. Will ‘a greater degree of personalisation’ involve fixing the ‘save these preferences for future visits’ tickbox that’s been broken for me for a good three or four years now? I notice you didn’t reply to my question about it at the top of this comment thread, even though previously when I’ve pointed it out you’ve rushed to say you’d look into it. Any progress at all?

      1. I’ve checked this out and journeys from Harpenden Rail Station are working fine. I know we have had problems with some out of London stations in the past but they are sorted now. Let me know if you have further problems.

  6. What a pig’s ear. It used to be OK. Now its a mess.
    Whenever I update it after entering the time I want to arrive, it defaults to depart. A total pain.
    And I don’t want to cycle or bus it across London. Why can’t I delete those ‘options’ and save my preferences?
    If they can’t get it right they should leave it well alone.
    P.S.We are passengers not customers.

    1. Hi Barry, can you explain what exactly you are experiencing with the arrival/departure time? I’m not aware of an issue there. Would be helpful to know what browser and operating system you are using for this.

      1. Hi Phil,
        I set it to arrival time, then I have to refresh the screen as it only gives one proper result plus a four-hour bus or bike ride.
        After refreshing the screen to get a proper choice of train journeys, I find it has defaulted to leaving time. I have to continuously reselect arrival time.
        This is on my Kindle Fire HD.

          1. When I refresh the page the option changes from arrives to departs. This is a total pain.
            Why can’t we save our settings so that we can exclude bike and exclusive bus options. A tickbox with ‘no bikes’ would be a good start.

          2. Barry, it’s not necessary to refresh the page if you hit ‘later journeys’. You can save preferences, although there have been one or two glitches with the. I’ll provide an update on that soon.

          3. Phil you are missing the point. It is necessary to refresh the page at some stage every time I try to plan a journey. Especially now when the page is cluttered up with bike rides and four-hour bus journeys.
            When I refresh the page it defaults to ‘departing from’ as Rich (above) has noted.
            Telling me not to refresh the page isn’t helping.
            How can we remove all bike journeys?

      2. I’ve also had this arrival/departure time glitch, multiple times. I think it’s generally when I’m using OS X/Chrome or OS X/Safari rather than iOS/Safari.

        I get it similarly to Barry: I’ll search for a journey based on arrival time, but then if I have to subsequently click ‘Earlier journeys’ or ‘Later journeys’, the subsequent results will be based on journeys *departing from* that time, not *arriving by*.

        Similarly, trying to search for a journey at midnight then selecting ‘Earlier journeys’ has been known to muck the result times up, by making them jump to around midnight 24 hours earlier (as the system seems to forget which day you’d initially chosen).

        Unhelpfully, I couldn’t recreate either bug just now (on OS X/Chrome), but I’ve seen them consistently multiple times before. Although one of my attempts just (selecting ‘Later journeys’ from a selection of just-before-midnight ones) now did just leave the bus animation merrily bouncing away, as if the search request had timed out. That happens occasionally.

      3. Like Barry, I’ve also had JP options that have reset themselves to default unexpectedly,

        For example, I’ve been planning a journey for 2pm on Sunday and I’ve changed one of the other values and suddenly I’m back to planning a journey for “now” rather than Sunday.

        Another thing I think has been overlooked is that if my journey is planned as “now” and starting from “present location”, then half an hour later I’m somewhere else, so pressing Update Journey really ought to plan a journey starting “now” rather than when I planned the previous journey, and it should start from where I *now* am rather than were I was before.

  7. I have exactly the same problem with journey planner as the gentleman who has posted above. I am constantly frustrated using TFL journey planner, because of technical glitches. I was further frustrated to find that when I looked for help on the TFL website, although there is help and FAQ in the ‘Help and Contact’ page for every other TFL issue, there is nothing for technical problems.

    The problems I repeatedly encounter are:
    i. When I plan a journey and select the option to arrive at a certain time at my destination, if I need to make changes to that journey, when I select ‘update journey’, it automatically reverts back to the default position of ‘leaving’ and returns the incorrect results. I then have to edit the journey back to the ‘arrive’ position
    ii. If I update ‘travel options & accessibility’ to go via a destination (in this circumstance Balham), when I first run the journey, journey planner has no problem recognising Balham. If after the results are returned, I want a later journey for some inexplicable reason it brings up a page saying that it found more than one location matching Balham (this is in addition to again changing the criteria from ‘arrive’ to ‘leave’)

    I end up spending a considerable time getting more and more annoyed as I keep having to re-edit my journey to get some sensible results.

  8. I’m sure there used to be an option to ‘Avoid Zone 1’ but can’t find it any longer. Have you taken it away?

  9. I can reproduce the arrival/departure bug on several platforms. I tested with Firefox and Google Chrome under Kubuntu and Windows 7, and Internet Explorer under Windows 7.

    1. Enter From and To, and click on “change time”.
    2. Click on “Arriving” and select a time a few hours in the future. Click on “Plan my journey”.
    3. Click on Edit. Note that “Arriving” is ticked.
    4. Select a different arriving time and click on “Update journey”.
    5. In the journey results, note that the time selected in 4 is now the leaving time, not the arriving time.

    If “Arriving” is clicked in 3 (even though it already seems to be selected), the results in 5 show the arrival time, which is the desired result.

  10. Phil, you say “You can let us know what you think by commenting on this blog or contacting our customer services team.”

    I wanted to report the arrival/departure bug, and so looked at the “Help & contact” link ( However, there’s nothing there to do with reporting problems with the TFL Web site.

    I didn’t fancy trying to report the problem by phone (though I’ve always been happy on the few occasions in the past when I’ve phoned about my Oyster card), so I used a search engine and found this blog, which I didn’t previously know about.

    So I suggest that as well as “Contact us about fares & payments / travel services / roads” you have “Contact us about the Web site”.

  11. it would be really nice if price for the journey could be displayed, next to the results when I plan a journey on TFL website. I know there is a single fare finder option tucked in somewhere in fare and payments!
    In addition to the above, it ‘used to’ display in older version of the site! Unfortunately I resort to using citymapper app for price information!

  12. Is there any way that the Journey Planner could (a) take account of a fast or slow Walking Speed when showing journey options and (b) save my walking speed when I click “save my preferences”?

    Both these things used to work on the Journey Planner before it was updated over a year ago. I see that someone complained about it last year – I just gave up and instead search for multiple mini journeys. which is fine if you know London fairly well, but no good for a tourist or visitor.

    And it made a big difference to journey options.

    1. JP may have more options, but it seems to ignore some of them.

      Example: From: Chingford Rail Station
      To: Blackfriars
      Leaving: Monday 28th Sep, 17:45
      Travel preferences:
      Via Farringdon

      Note I said “via Farringdon”. So I’m expecting to finish the journey via Thameslink.

      So, why is my journey result
      27 mins London Overground to Liverpool Street
      11 mins tube Circle line to Blackfriars Underground Station

      Last time I looked, the circle line doesn’t go via Farringdon, and “show all stops” confirms it.

      1. Another one.

        From: Edmonton Green Rail Station
        To: Southbury Rail Station
        Leaving: Monday 28th Sep, 18:00
        Travel preferences: Using all transport modes

        Result: Fastest by public transport
        17:55 279 bus or 349 bus to Southbury Road / Durants Road

        Fair enough so far. The direct train only runs every 30 minutes, so often the bus will get there faster.

        But … if I now ask for *later* journeys … ignore the two other bus journeys that show up next without a further web access … and *again* ask for later journeys …

        Suddenly it switches into BUS ONLY mode.

        I never asked for that, but it seems to happen whenever the FIRST journey was a journey by bus.

        The only way I can actually get a rail journey listed is to let it switch unrequested to bus-only journeys and then reselet the “fastest by public transport” that was supposedly selected all along.

  13. The journey planner doesn’t ever seem to take into account Overground, I just asked for a journey from Euston to Kenton and it gave me some complex combination of 3 tube journeys at nearly an hour. When I restrict it to Overground only it’s 24 minutes. Have had same problem with Highbury to Statford.

  14. Since the JP started displaying only one journey, its annoying that when planning a journey for “NOW” the first (and initiaily, the only) displayed result will usually be a journey that begins in the past.

    Yes, it makes sense if you’re planning a journey for a FUTURE date that if there’s a better journey starting ten minutes earlier than the chosen time that I should be told about it — but when the chosen journey is NOW then its somewhat pointless that the displayed journey suggestion is one that has already gone.

  15. Could you also have a look at eliminating redundant information from JP status alerts …

    As an example, a journey involving a 76 bus will currently display a status alert — but when expanded, it gives details of diversion and delays to routes 21 43 and 141 — but nothing about route 76. So, no reason to display that status alert if my route does not involve any of those buses.

    Similarly, when a journey involves london overground, I’ve been given long long explanations about station closures on completely different overground lines. Again, no reason to display the alert at all if my journey doesn’t use the lines mentioned in the alert.

  16. Whats happened to Streatham ?
    The JP cannot find any results for:-

    “SW16 1BU” to “Blackheath”
    “Becmead Avenue” to “Stratford”
    Kingscourt Road” to “Wimbledon”
    “Kingscourt Road” to “Victoria”
    “Mount Ephraim Road” to “Victoria”

  17. So, the great Journey Planner… I’m inputting Pratt Street to Paddington to arrive at 05:00 on a weekday morning. I get no results. Why? Doesn’t the 27 bus run anymore? Your bus timetables indicate it does….

  18. What would be really great is when there’s a problem with the line, the Journey Planner would give the option to AVOID the problem area!

  19. Hi Phil Young

    i have been using tfl journey planner for years with Mozilla but this year whenever I put in a search it only shows me a bus, even when it’s an obvious underground journey [eg Southgate to Leicester Square].

    The planner seems to work if I use Chrome – but it was fine on the browser I most commonly use.

    Please can you help resolve this?

    Lesley [frustrated of Southgate!]

  20. The Journey Planner has recently stopped working on Safari or Firefox (even the most up-to-date versions). Putting in almost any destination, even if selected directly from the TFL drop-down list, results in a message saying it can’t recognise it – not surprisingly, as the destination it feeds back is a string of gobbledegook. A specific example is N12 9PN to the Hackney Empire. Ask for a journey plan for that, and it promptly fails to recognise ‘ChIJr-b1B-sZdkgRZqLrCFWM794’, suggesting locations in Chiselhurst. Presumably, this stems from an untested systems update sometime recently: a shame, as it used to be a useful site.

    1. David Lowe:

      I’ve observed similar to you, with queries turning to either gobbledygook or to something that’s significantly different to what I’ve typed.


      My solution so far has been *not* to accept anything from the dropdown lists but to click into another field. This forces it to plan a journey based only on the postcode that you typed and that seems to work.

  21. I’ve tried to use the journey planner on several occasions recently. It steadfastly refuses to show tube journey options. E.g. Victoria to Bayswater: even though I specify tube only, it is the one option it will not show.

    1. To update my comment: it appears to be a problem with my browsers (both Chrome and IE). The results are simply not showing. What am I missing?

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