Get moving: how to best get around at uni

Ana Arendar has arrived at the best way to get from A to B let her take you on a journey...
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The Independent Online

In order to get around campus, attend lectures and visit your friends, it’s important to know what options are out there for you.Obviously you’ll already have a pretty good idea what they are, but we’ve taken it to the next level and put together a breakdown of some of the choices on offer to see which comes out cheapest, handiest and greenest.

Bicycle

Affordability *****
Potentially the cheapest way of getting around (other than on foot, of course).The initial cost of the bike is likely to be your biggest expense, although prices in the second-hand market start at around £100. On top of that, you’ll need to stump up for equipment, including a helmet, puncture-repair kit, reflective strips, pump, and importantly, a decent lock.

Reliability ****
Whether or not you’re on time for lectures will depend on how fast you can pedal (and what time you leave the house!) Most university campuses are equipped with cycle paths and lock-up facilities.

Comfort **
Depends on the weather and how far your legs are able to take you. Though great for keeping in shape, long-distance journeys can be tough and impractical.

Carbon tyre print *****
You can get around guilt free, happy in the knowledge that your mode of transport doesn’t release carbon emissions, helps reduce overall noise and pollution, and cuts traffic!

Total: 16/20





Bus

Affordability ****
The second cheapest option and far less tiring than pedalling. Bus systems operate throughout the UK, with tickets for single journeys averaging out at about £1. Student discounts are available in some parts of the country, especially on season tickets, while many universities offer cheap (sometimes free) shuttle services from campus to halls and town.

Reliability ***
The cliché is, sadly, true: you will probably find yourself waiting for ages at the bus stop only to have three come along at once. It’s also true that you shouldn’t cry over spilt milk, but as that’s not especially relevant we won’t dwell on it.

Comfort ***
If you’re lucky enough to get a seat you can sit back and enjoy the ride; if not, you’d better hold on to that rail – or the nearest available person – and hope it’s not too much of a squeeze.

Carbon tyre print ***
Travelling by bus helps cut carbon emissions as it reduces the number of cars on the streets.

Total: 13/20





Train

Affordability ***
You can get a third off with a 16-25 Railcard, which will set you back £24 per year. The cheapest tickets can be found if you book well in advance and avoid travelling during peak times.

Reliability ***
It’s not uncommon for trains to be delayed or diverted, especially at the weekend, but on the whole, rail travel remains a reliable and fast form of transport.

Comfort ****
You can book a seat with a table, kick back, read a book, work on that essay, or just watch the landscape whizz past your window.

Carbon tyre print ****
An energy efficient way to travel, with fewer carbon emissions per passenger than car travel.

Total: 14/20







Coach

Affordability ****
There are two main companies that travel nationally. Megabus is the budget option, offering tickets that start at £1.National Express have introduced a limited number of cheaper tickets, known as Funfares, with prices starting at £5; you’ll need to book well in advance to get the cheapest seats, though. National Express also offer a young person’s coach card (priced at £10 per year) which gives you up to a third off.

Reliability ***
Traffic can be unpredictable, especially on the weekends, causing unexpected delays.

Comfort ***
You get what you pay for on the Megabus: no frills and an uncomfortable seat! National Express coaches are better.

Carbon tyre print ***
Not the greenest of options as coaches pump out large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, but multiple passengers theoretically lead to a reduction in the number of cars on the road.

Total: 13/20



Taxi

Affordability **
There are two types of taxi: those that you hail on the street and pay for by the meter, and those which you pre-book and arrange a fixed rate for. Both are expensive compared to other forms of travel, though less so if there’s more than one of you to share the cost.

Reliability ***
Taxis operate door-to-door of course. However, always check that the taxi is licensed, and girls should steer clear of travelling alone.

Comfort ****
If it is late after a night out or you arrive at the train station with bags of stuff, a cab to your front door is definitely the easiest way to go.

Carbon tyre print *
Very energy inefficient, but if you and your friends fill the cab it’s more acceptable.

Total: 10/20



Car



Affordability *
One of the more expensive options available, once you factor in petrol, insurance, tax and parking prices.

Reliability ****
If the driver and the car are in order, having your own set of wheels is a very handy way of getting around campus, as well as for going further afield on impromptu day trips.

Comfort ***
Unless you’re in Fred Flinstone’s automobile, car seats are usually pretty comfy, but parking can be a problem as many universities have limited parking spaces.

Carbon tyre print *
The least green option available, but if you fill all the seats in the car at least you are dividing the carbon emissions between you.

Total: 9/20



Verdict

So the trusty bicycle came out tops: it’s good for you, good for the environment and good for your bank account. There’s only one thing for it: get on yer bike!

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