Published On: Wed, Sep 19th, 2012

Top tips for saving money on travel

Whether you’re excited by the prospect of being able to explore a new city, or already planning your visit home, travel can sometimes unexpectedly eat in to your student loan.

However, with some careful planning and budgeting, it need not be an overly expensive endeavour. Here are our top tips for travelling round Liverpool:

1. Get a bus pass. While some might associate these helpful pieces of card solely with the elderly, Arriva offers students a great deal in Liverpool with their student passes. These are especially worth investing in if you are in off-campus halls, and walking to lectures is simply not an option. Carnatic and Greenbank are served by the university service, 699 every ten minutes on weekdays, making it a quick way to get into university.

A student single costs £1.70; and with a journey there and back, you’re looking at paying a minimum of £17 a week. While this may not seem a lot, especially compared to paying for an academic year pass costing £301, the pass works out considerably cheaper in the long run, at around £10 per academic week, and comes with the added bonus of using the bus as often as you like, even to go on nights out. This pass can also be used on any Arriva service in the Northwest, so you can use it to really explore your new surroundings.

2. Get a railcard – and get a third off all rail fares. NatWest offer one for free with their student account; all you have to do is opt for online banking and fill out the relevant form. If you’re not with NatWest, but know you’ll be forking out for train fares to visit homes, buying one costs £28 for a year, or £65 for three years.

A flexible return ticket from Liverpool to London costs £74.20, but with the railcard, the same ticket costs £49 – a tidy saving of £25. The card pays for itself in the savings you make. Another way to save money on rail fares is by booking in advance, and try to split your tickets into singles.

3. Rail can be cheaper than the bus – great if you’re in Carnatic and live only round the corner from Mossley Hill Station and want to go into town or university before you’ve got your hands on your super economical bus pass, or if it’s just run out. Paying for the bus to town and back will cost you £3.40 (two student singles). However, if you take a short walk down to Mossley Hill Station and get a train to Lime Street, a return will cost you £2.30, or only £1.50 with a railcard! Obviously, for trips to university, you’ll end up having to walk up the hill from the train station, but it’s a good way to get some exercise in if you fancy it.

4. Get on your bike. If public transport doesn’t take your fancy, it’s worth bringing your bike with you to halls, or buying one. Using your bike around isn’t only great for your bank balance, but it is also a great way of keeping fit and healthy whilst getting around quickly. There are plenty of places to lock up your bike around campus while you’re in lectures or the library.

An added bonus of investing in a bike is that it is a one-off cost, and you can carry on using it for the rest of your years at university. You may have to budget for small repairs, but hopefully this will still be more economical in the long run. You could join the Re-Cycles Cycle Bus to uni at 8.25am each day, and they even help with repairs!

5. Get some numbers of reputable taxi companies. These are far cheaper than black cabs when looking for a ride back to halls after a night out or to take you and three suitcases to the train station when you’re going home. However, take care not to get into unlicensed cabs.

We’d recommend Village taxis (0151 4277909) or Alpha (0151 7228888), as when you book with them, they will send you a text telling you the make and colour of the car that will be picking you up – so you can be sure you’re getting into the right cab and are safe. Alpha also run a pre-paid card, perfect for when you’ve forgotten to keep some cash to get home.

We hope these tips help you get around and explore your new surroundings without a big travel bill in tow. Do you have any tips of your own? Please feel free to add them in the comments section below!

About the Author

- Simal is studying for an MA in Renaissance and 18th Century Literature. She loves how cultured Liverpool is and intends to take full advantage of it in her final year in the city. Originally from Shakespeare’s County, she enjoys having her head in a good book or watching an engaging play.