Affordable Transport Options for Students in the UK

With the UK in the midst of a cost of living crisis, it is more important than ever to save wherever we can. There are several methods to save money on a variety of transport methods including buses and trains in and around London.

1. 16-25 railcard

A 16-25 railcard will offer 33% saving of any type of rail travel. You can buy a railcard for 1 year for £30 or you can buy £70 for 3 years when you can auto renew your card for another 3 years once it has expired. This can help make train travel much more affordable for students particularly if you need to get a train to an airport or another area of the UK.

Example of saving £1.40 for one short journey:

A screenshot showing savings on a 16-25 railcard

2. Travelcards

Savings you can get with a travelcard

Travelcards can be purchased directly from Trainline directly when you purchase any train ticket into London. Travelcards allow for unlimited tube, bus, tram and DLR journeys on that same day so if you are travelling in/around London a lot then this can help save you a lot of money. On the screenshot above, a travelcard is an extra £3.50 from the cheapest train ticket. One journey on the tube is £2.50 one way so a travelcard has covered the cost of that almost immediately.

3. Book train journeys directly

There are a variety of 3rd party websites for booking train tickets. These 3rd website will typically demand a booking fee for each transaction. Example is from Trainline:

A screenshot of an online booking of a train journey through Trainline

This is booking directly from the train company website:

A screenshot of a direct online booking of a train ticket

From this one train journey, you have saved £0.79 as no booking fee is included when you book directly.

4. Buying train tickets in advance

Ideally, booking train tickets ahead of time is key to saving some good money. Here is an example of a train ticket booking for today and one two weeks ahead of time, the same journey:

A screenshot of a train booking for the same day A screenshot of a train booking made two weeks before the travel date shows a much lower price

For the same train, this represents a saving of £7.25 if you can book in advance.

5. £2 bus journeys

The UK government has introduced a cap of £2 single ticket for a variety of different bus routes across the UK. This excluded London which falls under Transport for London (TfL) and the travelcard can be used to get onto any bus.

The bus routes included on the list may change so we would recommend reviewing this list regularly.