Essential Guide: Commuting By Public Transport

Essential Guide: Commuting By Public Transport

When using public transport through the COVID-19 pandemic, please ensure that you follow relevant government guidance and advice: Read More. Also please ensure that you check your journey before setting off, with a number of emergency timetables in place across the UK.

The public transport options you have available will of course depend upon where you are, and where you are travelling. Some of us have access to a wide range of bus, tube and rail options, whilst others may have to rely upon more infrequent rural services.

Regardless of your options there are, however, a few handy steps to follow and things to consider if you are looking to undertake a journey by public transport.

With advances in services, facilities and technologies planning and undertaking a journey by public transport has never been easier. New technology means you don’t have to wait around at bus stops, many services now have WiFi on board, cashless ticket options and more!

Planning Your Journey

There are now a number of great options available for those looking to plan a journey by public transport. There’s no need to spend loads of time flicking through timetables to figure out which services work best for you – online journey planners can do that for you!

Our guide to planning a journey by public transport has everything you need to know, including links to some of the great online tools available, along with advice on how to make use of apps, timetables and network maps.

If you are still unsure of your best options for commuting by public transport, it is worth asking your employer for help. They may have someone who’s job it is to help and advise people on the commute to work, or be able to offer you a Personal Journey Plan.

Paying For Your Journey

Using public transport no longer has to mean fumbling around for change before hopping on to pay the driver or conductor in a rush! There are so many different ways to pay for your journey now that you may feel a little spoilt for choice!

Most operators now accept contactless payments on all of their services, in addition to some really useful apps, which allow you to buy and store your ticket on your mobile!

We are often asked which ticket option people should choose in order to minimise their commuting costs. Unfortunately there is no stock answer to this question, as it will often depend upon things like your location and travel patterns. What we would always suggest, however, is that you do your homework! There are some huge savings to be made by choosing the most appropriate public transport ticket option … paying on the bus everyday may be easy, but it could be wasting you some serious cash!

Here are some tips on how to choose your best ticket option:

  • How are you travelling? If your regular journey is on a particular bus service, then start by seeing what tickets the service operator offers. Buying a monthly or annual pass not only provides you with greater flexibility, but is also much cheaper over the course of time than paying on the day;
  • If you regularly use services operated by different companies, or combine bus and rail travel, find out if there are any multi-operator tickets available in your area. The Oyster card is a good example of a multi-operator ticket which can be used to travel around London by public transport, whether you are using the bus, train, tube or even river boats;
  • If your public transport journeys are occasional, see if you can buy a multi-journey ticket. You may be able to pay for a batch of tickets in advance, to use when suits you. This can be ideal for people who maybe use public transport a couple of times of week, but not regularly enough to benefit from a monthly or annual pass;
  • Consider rail season tickets – if you regularly commute between two train stations, it may be worth buying a rail season ticket

Once you have identified your best ticket option, the savings don’t always stop! Here are some tips on how to save even more!:

  • Corporate discount schemes: Most of the big bus operators now run corporate ticket schemes, which can save as much as 12.5% on the usual cost of an annual pass. Many of these schemes also allow you to spread payments by monthly direct debit, with flexible cancellation policies. Ask your employer to sign up if they haven’t already;
  • Commuter Club: Commuter Club help you save money on the cost of rail and oyster tickets, by spreading the cost of annual passes by monthly direct debit. See how much you could save!;
  • Interest free loans: Many employers offer staff interest free loans, to help with the financial outlay of buying an annual public transport pass. Ask your employer if they have a scheme in place.

Real Time Information & Apps

Gone are the days of standing around waiting for your bus or train with little idea when it will turn up. Real time information makes it easy to find out exactly where your ride is at, helping you plan when to leave the house, office or coffee shop.

Bus operator apps have proved to offer a real step change when it comes to real time bus information. They display the exact location of your bus on a handy map, in a very similar style to the Uber app which many are now familiar with. If you are undertaking a journey by bus we’d advise that trying out an app is a must, and to help you out we’ve pulled together a handy guide to getting most from bus operator apps.

Bus apps aren’t the only real time information tool, however. See what real time information you can find locally, which can help you stay one step ahead when it comes to a public transport journey.

Here is an example of a real time information service offered by Metro called ‘yournextbus‘. This service uses GPS satellite technology to track the location of buses in West Yorkshire, allowing you to find out the scheduled or real-time for any bus, at any stop.

Watch the video below to find out more.

Business Support

We help businesses to develop and implement commuter strategies which provide support on travelling by public transport. We provide location specific advice and support on pubic transport options, planning and discounts, helping to make the commute easier, cheaper and less stressful. Find out how we could help your business.