Travel Advice During COVID-19
Find the latest advice and information on travel around Lancaster during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Coronavirus pandemic is reshaping many of our travel patterns and habits. Many of us are enjoying the outdoors, walking more or cycling more. We have benefitted from less traffic on the roads, less congestion, less pollution and improved air quality as a result.
Many people are finding public transport challenging or have concerns about their health when using these means and as a result are switching to new modes of travel. Through personal choices, many are benefitting their health, their finances and the environment.
Current advice and information
General travel advice, guidance and current restrictions
Last updated: 7th January 2021
National Lockdown Restrictions on Travel
England is in national lockdown where you must stay at home.
You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse. If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.
The list of reasons you can leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:
- work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
- accessing education and for caring responsibilities
- visiting those in your support bubble, or your childcare bubble
- visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
- buying goods or services that you need, but this should be within your local area wherever possible
- outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
- attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services
If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practice social distancing while you travel.
Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble.
If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance available here.
The UK Government's latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus is available here.
You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace. More information on self-isolation and COVID testing is available here.
Bus & Coach Travel
Last updated: 13th January 2021
University Vacation bus timetables in operation until further notice
Due to the lockdown, Stagecoach will continue to operate a University Vacation level of bus service until further notice. The term-time timetable had been planned to be introduced on 8th January. Until further notice, bus services marked in the Service 1/1A Service 4 timetables as 'University term time only' will not operate. More information is available on the Stagecoach website here.
Bus times displayed in iLancaster and on the bus departure screens on campus and at Lancaster Bus Station should be updated very soon. The Stagecoach App is now showing the bus times correctly.
The latest Government advice on using public transport can be found here.
The current advice is to walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. The Stagecoach Bus App has a “How busy is my bus?” feature. This is a useful way to find a quieter bus.
Several studies suggest that the chance of Coronavirus spreading on public transport is minimal. Stagecoach are operating a robust cleaning regime on all their vehicles and social distancing and the wearing of face coverings is mandatory. This all helps to ensure that the bus is safe to use.
Important information for all passengers using Stagecoach bus services is available on the Stagecoach website. Additional information and FAQs on bus travel is also available. For updates follow Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire on Twitter.
Free bus to Sainsbury's
The free bus to Sainsbury's on Wednesday afternoons during term-time will NOT operate during the Lent Term 2021. This is due to the national lockdown and most students unable to yet return to Lancaster for the term.
Megabus Coach Services Suspended
Due to the national lockdown, Megabus will no longer be serving Lancaster University until further notice.
New Bus Stop at the Management School
A new bus stop on the perimeter road is now place outside the new entrance to the Management School in the direction of South West Campus.
Face coverings on public transport
When using public transport, wearing a face covering is mandatory, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons. Find out more here.
Face coverings at public transport hubs and bus stops
You must also wear a face covering in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs. This includes the University Underpass and Lancaster Bus Station. Please observe all social distancing guidelines at the Underpass and at all other bus stops. Wearing a face covering is recommended at other bus stops. Please keep at least 2 metres apart if people present at any bus shelter are not wearing a face covering.
If you have a question about accessibility whilst using bus services during the present time you may find an answer here.
Due to social distancing measures on Stagecoach buses, only 1 person can sit in each double seat unless you are travelling with someone in the same household or social bubble. There is also no standing permitted.
Please pay on board by contactless if you can. Cash payments are exact fare only so no change will be given.
Unirider bus passes
If you expect to travel on three or more days per week (four days if you are under 19) buying a bus pass should save you money. Unirider bus passes can be purchased directly from Stagecoach online where a wide range of payment methods are accepted. Bus passes for students are only available online in 2020/21 due to COVID-19 and are not available via the Students' Union until further notice. If a replacement bus pass is required, staff should contact the HR Rewards Team and students should contact the Facilities Helpdesk.
Refunds - Students
Information on refund requests for student bus passes is available on the Stagecoach website.
Staff bus pass payments and refunds
The University has considered the cost of bus passes during Covid-19 and made the decision not to cancel monthly payments for the bus pass or issue refunds for various reasons. A price freeze on all subsidised staff bus passes for 2020/21 should help mitigate against this. Reasons for not providing refunds include the following:
- The administrative workload and costs of processing refunds and cancelling future scheduled salary deductions would outweigh the amounts being refunded. There is no increase in staff bus pass prices in 2020/21 to reflect this.
- There are challenges in administering refunds or cancelling salary deductions for some staff and not others as some staff pass holders are still required on campus each day for whom a refund would not be appropriate.
- The passes are already heavily subsidised at either 70%, 75% or 100% (dependent on grade).
- The passes have to be paid for in full to Stagecoach and the University is not obtaining refunds on the amounts paid to Stagecoach for the staff bus passes.
- The University maintained 100% salary contributions to all staff to 31st July 2020, including furloughed staff.
Megabus and National Express Coach Services
Megabus are operating their coach services from the Underpass. You can view their Coronavirus safety information here.
National Express are no longer operating services out of Lancaster. The nearest National Express coach stops are at Preston and Blackpool.
Please check this page and the links provided frequently for the latest updates and information.
More information about travelling to the campus by bus is available on the Bus Travel webpage.
Last updated: 5th January 2021
Lancaster is an excellent area for cycling and one of just six former national Cycling Demonstration Towns benefitting from sustained investment in cycling. A recent study found that Lancaster is the best cycling city in the UK.
Cycling will help to reduce pressure on the local bus services and the local road network. The Government advises that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands both before and after cycling.
Cycle routes on campus
New cycling routes onto campus were installed earlier in 2020 linking Bailrigg Lane, the new Health Innovation Campus and the main campus site. This video shows what it is like to cycle this new route.
During darkness hours, the cycle route between the Sports Centre and HIC should be used instead of the new cycle route past the side of Lake Carter as that route does not yet have lighting on it. We are working on a lighting scheme for this route that will be sympathetic to the fragile ecology in that area of campus.
New cycle routes off campus
Pop-up Covid cycle lanes are provided by Lancashire County Council to help encourage safer cycling during the Coronavirus outbreak. For example, a pop-up Covid cycle lane is provided on South Road which is a key student transport corridor in Lancaster.
Bike maintenance and Dr. Bike services
Please note that the Bike Maintenance Workshop in Bowland Avenue remains closed until further notice. There will be no Dr. Bike maintenance service on campus until further notice.
Access to Shower and Changing Facilities
Unfortunately, shower and changing facilities on campus are temporarily locked-off due to the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission. We will open up these facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. We understand how important access to such facilities are for many cycle commuters.
More information is available on the Cycling webpage.
Last updated: 23rd November 2020
Walking as a form of transport is free, healthy, independent and easier to social distance. Walking will help to take pressure off the local bus services and the local road network.
Where possible, keep a suitable distance from other people. For example, when using one of the cycle routes or footpaths and when waiting at a crossing or traffic lights. Take precautions where this is not possible.
New walking routes onto campus are available linking Bailrigg Lane, the new Health Innovation Campus and the main campus site. This video shows what it is like to cycle this new route. During darkness hours, the cycle route between the Sports Centre and HIC should be used instead of the new cycle route past the side of Lake Carter as that route does not yet have lighting on it. We are working on a lighting scheme for this route that will be sympathetic to the fragile ecology in that area of campus.
More information about walking to campus is available on the Walking webpage.
Last updated: 7th January 2021
Rail services stopping at Lancaster are operated by Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express or Northern.
If you need to travel by train please follow the recommended guidance of National Rail before you set off:
- Plan ahead and consider travelling during less busier times of the day;
- Consider other passengers and rail staff. Wearing a face covering whilst travelling by train is required;
- Wearing a face covering is required in all train stations at all times;
- Stay safe by following social distancing guidelines at stations, platforms and trains wherever possible;
- Do not travel if either you or anyone in your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Due to the national lockdown, it is likely that train operators will be reducing their timetables as far fewer people need to travel.
Important advice and information for all rail passengers is provided and regularly updated by National Rail.
The latest information on Lancaster Railway Station including ticket office opening hours is available here.
Information is also available on the Train Travel webpage.
Car Parking - General
Last updated: 4th December 2020
Parking enforcement on campus is in place. This is helping to ensure a fair and efficient parking system for all parking users. Enforcement continues as normal during vacation periods.
Cashless Parking Payments
Since August 2020, payment for parking on campus has been cashless only. This helps to reduce Covid-related issues associated with handling cash and reduces costs.
Parking charges apply during University vacation times as same as they do during term-times.
All types of parking permit sales are exclusively available online for 2020/21. The following are available to purchase through the University's Online Store:
- 1-day parking scratch cards for staff
- 1-day parking scratch cards for visitors.
- 1-day parking scratch cards for contractors.
- Chancellor's Wharf Visitor Car Parking Permit.
- Parking Permits for Contractors.
Please do not visit the Car Parking Office in person. You can contact the Parking Office by telephone on 01524 592179 or by email at email@example.com
More information on car parking on campus is available on the Car Parking webpages.
Staff Car Parking - Payments and Refunds
Last updated: 23rd November 2020
The University has considered the cost of parking permits during Covid-19 and made the decision not to cancel committed monthly salary deductions for parking permits or issue refunds for various reasons. This applies both to 2019/20 and to 2020/21. Monthly salary deductions for staff parking permits will continue as normal.
Annual permits are for the 2020/21 academic year and expire on 30th September 2021. The year and expiry date are not printed on the annual permits this year.
The University is able to offer hardship loans to some staff members. These are available where there has been a significant drop in household income due to the COVID-19 crisis. For more information and eligibility please see the Staff Intranet.
The reasons for not cancelling parking permit payments or issuing refunds include:
- The administrative workload and costs of processing payment cancellations and issuing refunds would outweigh the amounts being refunded. There is no increase in permit prices next year to reflect this (except for EV Permits due to the separate cost of electricity).
- There are significant challenges in administering payment cancellations and refunds for some staff and not others as some staff are still required on campus each day for whom a refund would not be appropriate.
- The revenue generated from staff parking funds subsidised staff bus travel and the University is not obtaining any refunds from Stagecoach.
- The University has maintained 100% salary contributions to all staff to 31st July 2020, including furloughed staff.
- Many staff car commuters have saved money on fuel and other motoring expenses by not commuting to campus during the lockdown. A [working from home/furloughed] full time member of staff travelling a [typical commuting distance of] 4 miles will save approximately £75/month on vehicle operating costs (168 miles x £0.45/mile). Those staff working from home do incur [additional] costs through homeworking. The UK Government calculates homeworking costs at £6/week, or £25/month. The monthly cost of the parking permit works out at between £10-£18/month (depending on grade and proportion of week worked). In the event that staff remained furloughed or working from home until end September 2020 the cost of the parking permit over that five-month period would be £50-£100. A member of staff with a parking permit who is now working from home is likely to save £50/month (£75/month vehicle commuting costs - £25/month homeworking costs).
Car Sharing and Sharing Lifts
Last updated: 5th January 2021
You must avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your own household or support bubble.
Anyone considering car sharing or planning to share a car journey with others must familarise themselves with the current Government restrictions on car sharing with others outside of your own household or support bubble. These restrictions are subject to change so should be checked frequently as wider Coronavirus restrictions change.
See also the Car Sharing webpage.
Last updated: 4th January 2021
You must wear a face covering when using a taxi or private hire vehicle in England.
Other important information for anyone travelling by taxi is provided by the UK Government.
Lancaster City Council regularly publish updated information and guidance for locally licensed taxi and private hire operators in Lancaster. You can view this here.
The taxi ranks located in Bowland Avenue by the Chaplaincy Centre, on Alexandra Park Drive by the Lonsdale College bus stop and in the city centre all remain open.
More information on taxi travel is available on the Taxi Travel webpage.
Last updated: 23rd November 2020
Privately owned e-scooters are currently illegal to use on UK roads, pavements and cycle paths.
The UK Government has now legalised hired e-scooters in certain areas where trials are taking place on their use on public roads and cycle paths. Lancaster is not currently one of these areas but this may be an opportunity for the future.
We suggest that you consider a bicycle or an electric bicycle instead.
Student Car Parking - Payments and Refunds
Last updated: 5th January 2021
The University is not issuing refunds on student parking permits during Covid-19 for various reasons. This applies both to 2019/20 permits and to 2020/21 permits.
Reasons for not issuing refunds include:
- The administrative workload and costs of processing refunds would outweigh the amounts being refunded. There was no increase in permit prices for 2020/21 to reflect this.
- Many student permit holders have saved money on fuel and other motoring expenses by not commuting to/from campus during lockdown. These costs are usually greater than the permit costs.
- A majority of the lockdown period during 2019/20 covered vacation periods (Easter and Summer Vacations) as well as the Summer Term when student car use on campus is much lower than it is in the busiest times of the year in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.
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