Transportation costs in the UK June 27, 2024 - BY Admin

Transportation costs in the UK for International Students

Studying in the UK is an adventurous move, though it comes with the test of how to foot life's bills. Transport is an important aspect of its expenses, and therefore, getting to know all the prices can benefit you in terms of getting the most and the best out of it all without necessarily going overboard with expenses. Below is the analysis of transportation costs in the UK for international students as follows:.

Public Transport in the UK

Underground or Tube

The Underground, or Tube, is the UK's most popular underground metro network. Despite the name Underground, over 50% of its tracks are actually above ground! It covers a total of 270 stations and is the fastest and best choice for travelers, as it keeps you away from traffic and signal interruptions.

The underground stations are very easy to recognize with their iconic red and blue logos outside the venue. Although tickets can be bought from entry points at machines or at station ticket offices, buying an Oyster card is a smart way to plan your journey.

Frequency: Every 10 minutes

Payment Mode: Oyster Card or Contactless Payment Card

Cost: £5.50 (single journey), £2.40 (Oyster Card)


Local buses represent an essential concern for urban transit in the UK. Buses are often the cheapest and are usually for short journeys within your local area. In some places, you can buy a ticket from the driver when you board, in others, you may have to buy a ticket from a machine before you board the bus.

If you pay on the bus, some companies will require you to have the exact fare, while others won’t. Bus fares in the UK vary depending on the type of service, location, and distance traveled. Below is the list of bus fares.

Local City Buses

Single Ticket: £1.50 to £3.00

Day Pass: £4.00 to £7.00

Weekly Pass: £15 to £25

Monthly Pass: £50 to £90


The UK has a dense rail system linking the cities and towns within the country; for instance, it is possible to travel by train from London to Cardiff for slightly over two hours or from London to Edinburgh for slightly over four hours.

People aged 16 to 25 and full-time students of any age can purchase a 16-25 railcard to obtain a discount of a third on rail travel anywhere in the UK. There is also the 26–30 railcard designed for this age group, which also provides similar discounts.

Student Train Tickets are available to holders of a valid 16-25 Railcard and offer 50% savings against adult Super Advance fares.


Cycling is a fun, cheap, and healthy way to travel. Most UK cities now have bicycles. There are several apps, like Lime, HumanForest, Santander Cycles, Dott, and Tier, through which you can hire these cycles. The most popular of these apps is the Santander Cycle app, which allows you to deposit money into your account and take it for short trips. Get unlimited 30-minute rides for £3 per day with their new day pass. You can choose the bicycle of your choice from electric and pedal bikes.

And you can find bikes across central London, with over 12,000 bikes at around 800 docking stations. In a busy city like London, it can be stressful and dangerous if you're not careful.

Cycling APP Name Cost 
Santander Cycle
£1.65: 30 minute
£0.15 per minute
£0.16 per minute
£0.19 per minute


Tram systems in the UK are a fusion of traditional and contemporary features, playing an important role in some major cities. Moreover, trams are poised to take on a more significant role in major cities as they foster environmentally friendly, efficient passenger transport facilities.

Standard single fares range from £1.50 to £2.30, while return fares range from £2.80 to £4.70, depending on distance. Tram journeys usually cost between £50 and £90, depending on the distance, and are cheaper if used more frequently.

Taxis and Ride-Sharing

Getting around UK cities involves many decisions and choices when it comes to mobility and transport services, such as taxi facilities. From a societal perspective, students need to know the costs associated with these services for independent travel that they can afford within certain time constraints.

A typical journey within a city can cost between £10 and £30. Taxis, although affordable compared to other modes of transport, are often used for late-night transport, airport pick-ups and drop-offs, or where hailing options are unavailable. Companies like Uber, Bolt, and Lyft are for that, and they offer services that differ in some ways from taxis.

Student Transport Card and Benefits

Transport discount cards in the UK are those cards or passes that are used for getting discounts on several transport systems. It benefits the students in a way that they can save their money, which they spend on daily travel and commuting charges. Here are some common types of transport discount cards and how students can use them:

The 16-25 Railcard, or more correctly, the Young Persons Railcard, is one aimed at the younger population of rail travelers and enthusiasts between the ages of 16 and 25 and the full-time student who is over 25 years of age. One of the parameters it focuses on is a significantly reduced price for rail transportation throughout the UK, which attracts students and young people.

Benefits: Rail offers a 30% discount on fares for passengers aged between 16 and 25 years and passengers above 26 years of age and in full-time education. Validity: It is a yearly license and costs £30 for one year of use.

Usage: With this pass, students can obtain the cheapest train tickets for travel across the country both during peak and off-peak hours.

18+ Student Oyster Photocard

An Oyster card is a smart card that you can add money to, so you can pay on the go. You can pay as you go to travel by bus, tram, London Overground, most Elizabeth Line, IFS Cloud Cable Car, and Thames Clippers River Bus services.

Benefits:Gives a 30% reduction on the published adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets to students aged 18 and over in full-time education

Validity: Records are valid up to a maximum of 3 years, depending on the period of study.

Usage: Used for traveling on all buses in London, trams, London Underground, TfL Rail, and most of the national rail services within London.

Travel Cards

A travel card is a pre-loaded card that gives you unlimited travel at any time on the bus, tram, London Underground, and National Rail services in London.

Benefits: They include the following;Some cities and regions have a local travel card that makes it cheaper to use on buses, trams, and local lines of trains.

Validity: Depending on the city or region, they are made for a week, a month, or even more.

Student discount card application process

How to apply for an Oyster Card

Before you start your application, you will need the following:

Your student ID number 

A credit or debit card to pay the relevant application fee

Your program's start and end dates

An active e-mail address

A digital photograph of yourself

Submitting your application for a Student Oyster Card

Once you have gathered all the required documents and information, you can submit your application online through the TFL website. The online application process is straightforward and should only take a few minutes to complete.

After you submit your application, TFL will review your information and documentation. If everything is in order, you will receive your Student Oyster Card by post within a few days.

Budgeting Tips:

Maximize Student Discounts: Always ask about student discounts for all transportation modes.

Book in advance: Booking train tickets in advance can secure the best rates.

Travel Off-Peak: Opt for off-peak travel times to save on train and bus fares.

Consider Alternatives: Walking and cycling are excellent ways to save money while staying active.

University-Specific Transport Options:

Many universities provide additional transportation support for their students. This can include free or discounted shuttle buses, bike rental schemes, or partnerships with local transport providers. Check with your university to take full advantage of these services.


Understanding transport costs and options in the UK is crucial to managing your budget as an international student. Follow us to learn about different modes of transport. By taking advantage of student discounts and planning your journey wisely, you can navigate the UK transport system efficiently and cost-effectively. Happy travels!