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Advice for commuting students

A commuting student at York St John is any student that has the same home and term-time address.

Student riding bike down path in front of campus building

Emma Coward-Gibbs is our dedicated contact for commuting students. Emma is happy to help you to manage the impact of commuting on your academic studies and wellbeing.

If you have applied to York St John and intend to commute to University, or if you’re already living in student accommodation in York but intend to commute in future years, Emma would also be happy to speak with you to discuss your travel options, or help you decide whether commuting is the right choice for you.

Contact Emma about commuting by emailing, or book an appointment with Emma.


If there are a few options for you to travel to campus and you’re not sure which will be best for you, you can contact Emma at or book an appointment with Emma to discuss your options.


You can apply for a car parking permit which allows parking at one of our accommodation sites. Students who commute from outside of York are prioritised for parking permits. 

Blue badge holders are guaranteed a free permit. Students with a disability or medical condition and students commuting from outside York will be prioritised for a parking permit.

University parking permits cost £60 a year. Discounts are available for car sharing and low emission vehicles.

You can find further details regarding University parking, including a link to the application form, on the page below.

Car parking for students

There are also multiple council-owned car parks across the city, though parking in the city is quite expensive. You can find a directory of council-owned car parks on the York City Council website. You can find prices for each of the car parks in the individual car park pages linked at the bottom of the page.

York also has a number of park and ride car parks outside of the city, with regular bus routes connecting the car parks and the city. You can park for free in a park and ride car park and would then need to purchase a bus ticket to use the park and ride bus service. You can find a map of the park and ride sites on the York City Council website.


If your car insurance is up for renewal, you should always 'shop around' using a comparison website to see if you can get a better deal with a new provider. Examples of comparison websites include:

Some price comparison websites also offer freebies if you purchase insurance that they’ve recommended. It’s worth trying more than one comparison website before purchasing, just in case one website has access to deals that another doesn’t.

TOTUM and UniDays may also offer car insurance discounts.

You can find more guidance about getting cheaper car insurance on the MoneySavingExpert website.

If you plan to commute by train, you can make an appointment with Emma for more information or help finding the best travel routes and tickets for you.

We recommend buying tickets in advance to get the cheapest deals on train fares. Make sure to research which type of train ticket is best for you, for example advance singles, open returns, or season tickets.

Depending on where you’re travelling from and to, it can sometimes be cheaper to buy “split tickets”. This means that you buy tickets to travel to multiple stations on your journey, rather than buying one ticket for your whole journey. It can be possible to travel on a split ticket without changing trains. TrainLine automatically checks to see if you can benefit from split ticketing on a journey, so you may find it helpful to use their website to plan your journeys.


All full time students are eligible for a 16 to 25 railcard which can save you a third off travel.

You can buy your railcard online or pick up a form at the Student Information Desk on campus.

If you are over 25 you must have the mature student section of the railcard form completed by a member of staff at the Information Services Desk on campus.

Additional discounts

UniDays and TOTUM sometimes offer discounted rail fares, so it is worth checking their website when booking tickets to see if you can get a deal. 

Transpennine Express give 50% off train tickets with a 16 to 25 Railcard when you book in advance.

CrossCountry give an extra 10% off when using TOTUM card (on top of the 16 to 25 railcard discount).

LNER give 40% off train tickets with UniDays (cannot be used with the 16 to 25 Railcard discount).

Grand Central give an extra 25% off (on top of 16 to 25 Railcard discount).

Rail operators will sometimes run further additional discounts, and you can find information about these on the National Rail website. You might find it helpful to check this page every so often to see if there are any limited deals or promotions you might be able to benefit from.

York has lots of different bus services for different parts of the city and surrounding towns and villages.

You can use Google Maps to plan your bus travel into York and across the city. Google Maps also shows how long it estimates it would take to walk to and from the bus stops you’d be using. 

First Bus York and Arriva offer student discounts to York St John students.

The First Bus app and Arriva Bus UK app let you know when your next bus is arriving, see available capacity, and buy cheaper tickets in advance.

There are over 300 bicycle racks located across our campus on Lord Mayor's Walk and York St John University Sports Park.

York is a cycle-friendly city. iTravel York offers a comprehensive cycling web page which includes a cycle route map of the city of York. You can pick up a York Cycle Map from the Information Services desk on campus.

If you're considering buying a bike for University, you could save some cash (and help the planet) by buying second-hand. Recycle York sell bikes from as little as £60, and they'll even buy it back when you're finished with it.

Taking a taxi is much more expensive than taking the bus, train or cycling. Taxis in York can also be much more expensive than other parts of the country, so if you’re planning on commuting in, you may wish to consider other travel options first.

If you travel to campus by taxi, or need to get a taxi once on campus, we have a dedicated taxi pick up spot opposite the Porters Lodge.

Getaway Cars and Streamline both have a handy booking app and offer a 10% discount for York St John students.

Streamline offer a student safety policy. If you are in a situation where you do not have any money after a night out, you can give them your student card and pay the next day at their office.

Study supplies and storage

When you’re planning on travelling to campus, consider what you’ll need to be able to study as well as basic items you will need for the day. That includes things like:

  • Your phone, purse or wallet and keys
  • A charger for your phone
  • Your student card – you’ll need this to be able to access the library
  • A book to read on the bus or train
  • Any books or items you need to give back to the library
  • Notebooks, pens etc.

If you want to avoid carrying a heavy laptop between your home and campus, keep in mind that you can borrow a laptop or iPad from the library. Make sure that if you’ll be using a different laptop at home and on campus that you store files in your OneDrive so that you can access them wherever you are.

If you forget your charger, you can borrow a charger for lots of different devices in the library – ask at the Information Desk for information about how.

You might find it helpful to keep all of the things you usually take to campus in a separate bag, or packing your bag up the night before, to avoid forgetting things when you are in a rush. 

There are free lockers available on campus. Lockers are in the following locations:

  • Library ground floor: available during Information Service desk opening hours. Collect a key from the desk.
  • Foss building ground floor: free but require a £1 coin to operate them, which is returned after use.

If your term-time address is listed on you student record as outside of York, you can request “Commuting Student” status at the Library desk. This will allow you to borrow a locker for up to 7 days at a time. If your term-time address is listed as in York, you’ll be able to borrow a key for day use only.

Food and drink

If you would like to purchase food on campus, you can get hot meals from both the Campus Kitchen and the Students’ Union café. There are also snack vending machines in the Fountains Learning Centre and on the ground floor of Holgate. 

You can also walk into town to buy food. There are lots of cafés and small supermarkets near campus (but keep in mind that buying a hot meal or sandwich in town may be expensive!)

If you’re looking to save money, it might be much cheaper for you to make lunch and bring it to campus than to buy lunch on campus. You could also save money by:

  • Bringing your own water bottle, and a reusable travel mug (which will help you to avoid the 20p latte levy!)
  • Make your own hot drinks by bringing your own teabags/coffee and sugar sachets in.

The Student Kitchen is on the second floor of the library. There are 2 microwaves and a hot water tap, perfect for making a cup of tea and heating up your lunch.

A hot water tap is located on the ground floor of the Fountains Learning Centre near the vending machines. Hot and cold water is also available free of charge from all catering outlets if you bring your own cup or bottle.

The Chapel has a small kitchen and quiet space which is available for students to use during the day.


If you’ve cycled into campus and need to take a quick shower before going to lectures or seminars, you can use the shower located in the Creative Centre, or in the Haxby Road building. Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring your own towel and toiletries!


If you need to be on campus for an early morning, avoid the rush-hour traffic by staying overnight in our exclusive accommodation for commuting students.

Overnight accommodation for commuting students can be booked for £20 a night. The accommodation is available at 49 Clarence Street, and during your stay you will be provided with bedding, access to a shared kitchen, and ensuite bathroom facilities.

This accommodation can be booked for 3 nights a week maximum and is allocated on a first come first serve basis. You must submit your request with a minimum of 2 working days’ notice to allow the request to be processed. Please be mindful that this accommodation is in high demand, and if you wish to cancel your booking, contact the Accommodation team as soon as possible. As this accommodation is limited, we will not process block/multiple bookings at once. Rooms can be booked up to a month in advance for the current or following month only.

To make a booking, send an email to the Accommodation teams at, with the subject "Commuting room".

Sending the email does not guarantee accommodation. We will be in touch with you shortly to advise if a room is available. Any information regarding your booking will be sent to your University email address.