Getting Around in Aberdeen and Beyond – Buses
Getting around in Aberdeen is easy and the largest bus operator, Firstbus, runs frequent services across the city. For timetabling information, details of the different routes and fares you can either phone (tel 01224 650065) or call in at the shop at 47 Union Street. Alternatively, you could check out their website by clicking on the link above.
These buses do not offer change, so you should make sure that you have a range of coins available up to £2.40. If you know that you will be making several bus journeys during the course of one day, you should ask the driver about the 'all day tickets' which allow you to pay one fare that will cover all your travel for that day. Keep your ticket safe and simply show it to the driver of the next Firstbus you travel on that day.
Other options include buying 'travelcards' which are placed on a machine on the bus, beside the driver, and which deduct your fare from the overall 'value' stored electronically on the card. Travelcards can be bought from certain newsagents, post offices or from the Firstbus shop. They are available in a range of values – £10 and £20.
Alternatively, if you know that you will be travelling by bus every day you may want to buy a Student Bus Pass which allows you to travel as often as you like, without having to pay for each individual journey. You should contact the Firstbus shop to check the most up to date costs. Generally, the longer the period your bus pass covers, the cheaper the cost. You will need to take some form of student identification and a photograph when you apply.
For travel out with Aberdeen, Stagecoach Bluebird (tel 0871 2002233) offers travel in the Northeast of Scotland and National Express (tel 08705 80 80 80) and Scottish Citylink (tel 08705 50 50 50) run coach services to all the major cities in Scotland and into England. Contact the telephone numbers given above for timetabling and fare information. Student discounts may be available, so always ask. All the buses depart from the bus station on Guild Street and fares are often less expensive than travelling by rail.
Aberdeen train station is situated next door to the bus station on Guild Street and connects Aberdeen both to the North and South of the country, as well as providing connections to England and Wales. There is an enquiry office within the station or you can call First ScotRail Telesales (tel 08457 550033) for details of routes and fares as well as telephone booking. You should always ask about Apex fares for return travel as these are considerably cheaper, although they need to be booked in advance and are not always available. For these tickets you need to specify the date and time of travel when booking and if you need to change this later, a charge is usually made.
If you are aged 25 or under, you may find it cheaper to buy a 'Young Person's Railcard', which will give you a discount off the standard rail fare. You can ask about this and other types of railcard at the station office on Guild Street.
Aberdeen taxis tend to be expensive and you should always ask the driver to give you an estimate of the fare before you begin your journey. Taxis can be booked in advance to collect you from your accommodation – the Yellow Pages phone directory gives listings of the various taxi companies in Aberdeen and the surrounding area. There are also a number of taxi ranks in the centre of Aberdeen where taxis wait for potential fares e.g. at the train station on Guild Street, beside the St Nicholas Church graveyard off Union Street, behind the Bhs department store off Market Street. Alternatively, you can try waving down a passing taxi if it is available for hire.
Aberdeen International Airport is situated approximately 8 km to the north of Aberdeen and is connected to the city centre by both a bus (no. 27 and Jet 727) and a taxi service. From here you can take an internal flight to a range of cities in the UK. There are a several air operators who fly out of Aberdeen and although it is a smaller airport than Glasgow or Edinburgh, it offers a number of direct services to European destinations. If you are travelling outside Europe you will probably need to take a connecting service through either London Heathrow, Gatwick or through another European airport, most often Amsterdam or Paris.
You should always check whether you will need to apply for a visa if you want to travel outside the UK (including travel to Dublin) while studying in Scotland and should try to leave yourself plenty of time to do this (ideally several weeks). If you need advice about whether a visa will be necessary for you please contact Zuzana Banicova, the International Guidance Tutor at the College.