Discounts & Free Travel
There are several schemes available to students and staff which give you discounts or free travel on public transport around Scotland and the UK.
In 2022 the Scottish Government introduced free nationwide bus travel for young people. It is open to anyone aged 5-21 who is resident in Scotland for most of the year (6 months or more). This scheme allows you to travel on nearly every bus service in Scotland for free (there are exceptions for certain airport buses, city sightseeing buses, and nightbuses).
In order to benefit from this scheme you need to apply for either a National Entitlement Card or Young Scot National Entitlement Card. If you already have a Young Scot card, you might not need to apply for a new one.
Full instructions on how to apply can be found on the website: freebus.scot
If you are aged 60 or over or have a disability, you are entitled to free nationwide bus travel around Scotland through the National Entitlement Card (NEC) scheme. If you are applying for an NEC on the grounds of a disability, you will be asked to provide proof of entitlement.
A guide to acceptable proof of disability, as well as information about applying, can be found on the website: getyournec.scot
If you 22 years or older, you should consider buying a Ridacard from Lothian Buses, the main bus provider in Edinburgh. These season tickets give you unlimited travel on buses in the Lothian network, as well as on Edinburgh Trams.
Ridacards are available for different lengths of time, from a week up to a year. Ther best value is to buy an Annual Ridacard. This costs £600, and works out at £1.64 a day for unlimited travel.
Students can get a discount when they buy a Ridacard by presenting their matriculation card. There is also a 9 month option, which is handy for students who don't want to pay for travel they won't use during the summer holidays.
For full details and prices, see the Lothian Buses website: lothianbuses.com/ridacard
Stagecoach and First Bus also operate some routes in Edinburgh and the surrounding area, with both offering student fares.
Ticket information for:
There are a wide range of Railcards available for purchase from National Rail. These railcards give holders a hefty discount (usually 1/3rd) off the cost of all train tickets. While there is a cost (usually £30 for a year) to buying a railcard, the savings offered by will pay for itself in only a few journeys.
Which railcards you are eligible will depend on your age and needs. You can view the full list of available railcards on the website: www.railcard.co.uk
Note that all students, regardless of age, are eligible for a 16-25 Railcard. Mature students (over the age of 25) need to complete a separate application form and have it approved by their School or Department.
Holders of some Railcards can get discounts on Transport for London public transport services. The exact discount depends on your type of Railcard, but in most cases you can get a 1/3rd discount on off-peak travel.
See the TfL website for more details: tfl.gov.uk
If the upfront cost of purchasing a season ticket for public transport is prohibitively expensive, staff can apply ofr an interest-free loan from the University to cover this. It is paid back in 10 monthly installments.
Please note that Lothian Buses Ridacards are not included, as a direct debit option is available from them which should be used instead.