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Top tips for university travel

Top tips for university travelThe cost of transport can make up around 7-10% of a student’s total budget but in some cases it can be free. Check out the various options below to help you decide which is the best mode of transport for you.

Walking

ProsCons

Free.

Not bound by timetables.

Good exercise.

Slow.

Could be unsafe at night.

Uncomfortable in bad weather.

Tips:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to uni.
  • Consider distances - anything more than three miles could leave you exhausted.
  • Get decent shoes if covering long distances.
  • Keep your phone charged - but don't talk on it when walking, as you could attract thieves.
  • Remember, be safe. Tell others where you are going and if travel with others after dark if you can.
  • Don't listen to music if you're crossing busy roads or walking alone at night.

Cycling

ProsCons

Cheap.

Quick.

Keeps you fit.

Not bound by timetables.

Easy to park.

Can be tough if you need to go a long way.

Target for thieves.

Can be dangerous.

Uncomfortable in bad weather.

Tips:

  • Necessities for this transport would include a helmet, lights and a decent lock.
  • You should wear luminous clothing when cycling at night and be extra careful with traffic.
  • Most universities offer secure locations for bikes.
  • Don't wear headphones while cycling - you need to be aware of your surroundings.
  • You should get your bike insured as they're easy things to steal.

Scooter

ProsCons

Quick.

Doesn't take as long to learn as driving.

Can be dangerous.

You need to pay for fuel, insurance and the scooter itself.

Target for thieves.

Tips:

  • Lock it up – it’s the mode of transport most likely to be stolen

Buses (and trams)

ProsCons

Cheap.

Bus passes mean you can just hop on and off.

Bus stops are often closer than train stations.

May run late at night.

May be unreliable.

Short journeys can be expensive.

May be crowded.

Tips:

  • In most university towns, bus companies offer passes and special tickets such as an ‘all week ticket’ which might cost around £12 and provides unlimited travel.
  • Some routes require you to buy a ticket before you get on the bus, so be prepared.
  • Find out when the last bus runs to avoid being stranded.
  • If you’re studying in London, a Student Oyster Photocard will give you 30% discount on bus passes for a week, month or longer periods. More info available on the TFL website.

Underground/Metro

Some cities have an underground or metro system such as Newcastle and
Glasgow. The Tube is very popular in London.

ProsCons

Quick and convenient.

Discounts may be available for students.

No traffic worries.

Often crowded.

May be more expensive than other public transport.

No mobile signal if you're delayed and need to let someone know.

Prone to delays or engineering works.

Tips:

  • If your journey is short, check to see if it's cheaper to get the bus or walk!
  • Can be expensive but like the buses they often offer student travelcards. The cost of the ticket normally depends on the length of trip or what area or ‘zone’ you’re in.
  • A Student Oyster Photocard in London will give you a 30% discount on Travelcards for a week, month or longer periods up to a year.

Trains

ProsCons

Often fast.

No traffic worries.

Cost can be reduced if you're doing the same journey regularly.

Prone to engineering work and disruption.

Ticket prices are always going up.

Trains can be very busy at rush hour.

May not run late.

Tips:

  • You can buy a 16-25 Railcard. Priced at £28 for a year, it gives students and anyone aged 16-25 a third off rail fares. You can buy online, at a station or over the phone. More info visit www.16-25railcard.co.uk
  • It is important to consider factors such as engineering works and increasing ticket prices.
  • Remember that train tickets are often cheaper if you book in advance. Also see if you can get a season ticket if you use trains regularly.

Driving

ProsCons

No need to rely on public transport.

Privacy and comfort.

Won't get you home if you've had a drink.

You'll have to pay for insurance, fuel, tax, repairs and MOT - as well as the car!

Qualifying can take a long time.

Parking is limited at university.

Attractive to thieves.

Tips:

  • Do some online research about things to look out for when buying a car to help avoid any expensive repairs.
  • Shop around for the best deals for insurance and repairs

Coach

ProsCons

Cheap for national travel, especially if booked in advance.

You should always get a seat and somewhere to put your luggage.

You don't have to worry about a car or bike.

Can be much slower than other modes of transport.

May be uncomfortable.

Tips:

  • Students can purchase a Coach card which provides a 30% discount.
  • Try and book in advance for cheaper tickets.

Flying

If you’re visiting friends or family, or wanting to book a holiday or elective, flying may be the only way. There are many budget flights, but don't forget to account for the cost of transport to and from the airport and taxes. Some cheap airlines charge for checking in bags, so make sure you know what the total cost is before you buy.

Airlines provide cheaper services if you book in advance. Always compare deals and don’t get sucked in by all the added extras on the website if you don’t need them!

Taxis

'Black cabs' are more expensive. Ask your university or union for a reliable taxi company and keep their number safe. Ask in advance how much a journey will cost. Remember that a minicab you haven't booked is no safer than getting into a car with a stranger.

Many taxi firms offer a scheme where you can 'pay' for your fair with your university ID, then come in the next day and pay what you owe to get your card back. This way you have a safe way home if you're stuck at night.

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