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 and guidance
The UK Government's latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus is available here.
Transport is very important for our students, and for our staff, who need to travel to the campus.
If using public transport, wearing a face covering is mandatory, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons.
When you travel please think carefully about the times, routes and ways you travel so that we will all have more space to stay safe. Please use the Safer Travel Checklist before you make a journey.
However you plan to travel, please familiarise yourself with the UK Government's Coronavirus Safer Travel Guidance. This provides important advice and information on walking, cycling, travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The bus is usually a very popular way to travel to the campus but from September we need many of you to find other ways of travel to campus so that spaces on the buses can be left for those that really have no other travel alternative.
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.
When using public transport, wearing a face covering is mandatory, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons. Find out more here. You must also wear a face covering in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs. This includes the Underpass and Lancaster Bus Station. Please observe all social distancing guidelines at the Underpass and at all other bus stops.
If you have a question about accessibility whilst using bus services during the present time you may find an answer here.
Since 1st June Stagecoach have been operating normal bus timetables for University vacation periods so any services marked in the timetables as 'term-time only' will not operate. General information on Stagecoach's timetables and services during the Coronavirus outbreak is available here. Information on enhanced bus timetables from the end of September for University term-times will be available here in due course.
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. Stagecoach have confirmed that capacity on the buses is now at 40% of normal levels in order to enable social distancing. This is why we need many of you to use alternative modes of travel and consider avoiding busier periods of travel.
Please pay on board by contactless if you can. Cash payments are exact fare only so no change will be given.
All 40 and 42 services that are advertised as serving the bus stops on Alexandra Park, InfoLab21 and Furness College will not be serving these stops. This is due to the closure of the Alexandra Park Gate. The 40 and 42 bus services will continue to operate from the Underpass. From Monday 24th August these services will again be able to service these bus stops.
Unirider bus passes
Unirider bus passes are not available from the Students' Union until further notice but can be purchased online. If a replacement bus pass is required, staff should contact the HR Rewards Team and students should contact the Facilities Helpdesk.
Refunds - Students
Refunds - Staff
The University has considered the cost of bus passes during Covid-19 and made the decision not to issue refunds for various reasons. A price freeze on all subsidised staff bus passes for 2020/21 should help mitigate against this.
- The administrative workload and costs of processing refunds would outweigh the amounts being refunded. There will be no increase in staff bus pass prices next year to reflect this.
- There are challenges in administering refunds 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 had to be paid for in full to Stagecoach by May 2020 and the University is not obtaining refunds on the amounts paid to Stagecoach for the staff bus passes.
- The University has maintained 100% salary contributions to all staff to 31st July 2020, including furloughed staff.
- The subsidised bus passes purchased through flexible benefits at summer 2019 enrolment involve an agreement for 12 monthly salary deductions to be made across the year.
Megabus and National Express
Megabus are operating their coach services from the Underpass. You can view their Coronavirus safety information here.
National Express are not operating their services from the University until further notice.
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.
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.
All students coming to Lancaster in September are encouraged to bring a bicycle with them to use for travel. Basic accessories including front and rear lights, a helmet and a good quality lock should also be used. Cycle parking is available across the campus including at all residential areas. Secure cycle stores are available in all but one of the colleges. Brand new secure cycle stores are available at Chancellor's Wharf. Additional cycle parking is being installed over the summer at various key points on the campus to provide additional facilities.
New cycling routes are now available onto campus 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.
Pop-up cycle lanes are being provided by Lancashire County Council to help encourage safer cycling during the Coronavirus outbreak. For example, a pop-up cycle lane is provided on South Road which is a key student transport corridor in Lancaster. Additional facilities on the local roads are likely to follow soon.
More information about cycling to campus is available on the Cycling webpage.
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 now 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.
More information about walking to campus is available on the Walking webpage.
Train services are operating at a reduced capacity so National Rail are asking you to use an alternative travel mode if you can.
If you do 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 in England and Scotland;
- 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.
Further 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.
More information is available on the Train Travel webpage.
Car Parking - general
From 3rd August parking enforcement on campus recommenced along with the introduction of cashless parking payments. This is helping to ensure a fair and efficient parking system for all parking users as well as reduce Covid-related issues associated with handling cash.
More information on car parking on campus is available on the Car Parking webpages.
Staff Car Parking - payments and refunds
The University has considered the cost of parking permits during Covid-19 and made the decision not to issue refunds for various reasons. A price freeze on all parking permits for 2020/21 should help mitigate against this. Monthly salary deductions for staff parking permits continue as normal.
The reasoning behind this is as follows:
- The administrative workload and costs of processing refunds would outweigh the amounts being refunded. There will be 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 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 has been spent on subsidised staff bus travel and the University is not obtaining any refunds from Stagecoach.
- The parking permits purchased through flexible benefits at summer 2019 enrolment involve an agreement for 12 monthly salary deductions to be made across the year.
- 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).
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.
Car Sharing and Sharing Lifts
The latest advice and important information for people car sharing and travelling in multi-occupancy vehicles is available from the UK Government. Staff and students sharing vehicles with others should carefully consider this information prior to making such journeys.
More information is available on the Car Sharing webpage.
You should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. 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.
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
The University is not issuing refunds on student parking permits during Covid-19 for various reasons. A price freeze on all parking permits has been agreed for 2020/21 to help mitigate against this.
- The administrative workload and costs of processing refunds would outweigh the amounts being refunded. There will be no increase in permit prices next year to reflect this.
- Many student permit holders have saved money on fuel and other motoring expenses by not commuting to/from campus during the lockdown. These costs are usually greater than the permit costs.
- A majority of the lockdown period covers vacation times (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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