This webpage provides guidance for students on how to travel safely to Edinburgh College campuses. It sets out government guidelines on using public transport, and provides advice and information on walking, cycling, and driving. More detailed advice can be found on the Scottish Government website here. If you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 you should not travel, and follow government advice on self-isolation.

Contents:

In summary:

  • Edinburgh College is adopting a blended learning approach for 2020/21 following Scottish Government guidance. This means that for the foreseeable future, most classes will be taught online. You should stay local and study from home, rather than travelling to campus. College staff will keep you up to date on when your timetable will be online or face-to-face. You should only come to campus if you are asked to by your lecturer.
  • If you are travelling, then you should try to walk or cycle. This will reduce pressure on the public transport system and road networks, leaving space for people who really need to use them, like key workers.
  • When using public transport, it is possible that travel may take longer than normal due to reduced capacity and physical distancing measures. You should plan ahead, identify alternative routes, and set off earlier in case of unexpected disruption. Avoid travelling at peak times where possible. The wearing of face coverings is mandatory on public transport unless you have an exemption.
  • If you have to drive, you should plan ahead as increased traffic will likely lead to disruption and delays. Try to avoid travelling at peak times. College car park capacity is limited, and the college cannot guarantee you will easily find a parking space.
  • Please be aware that when arriving on campus, each building will have one way systems and specific entrance and exit points to enable social distancing. For more information on health & safety procedures on campus, please see this guide.

Planning your journey

Edinburgh College Students Association's Travel Hub has a useful tool to help you plan your journey. It will give you a detailed breakdown of all the travel options available from your home postcode to your campus, based on the date and time you need to arrive by. You’ll then be sent an email with the best travel options for you.

Walking & Cycling

Where possible, you should walk or cycle to campus. Public transport is likely to experience increased disruption and delays due to the need for social distancing. Furthermore, college car parking spaces are limited, and there is no guarantee you will find a space. If you live close enough, walking and cycling will likely be the easiest and most reliable way to get to college. Plus, it’s cheap and healthy! ECSA offers free cycle training to help you feel more confident riding a bike - get in touch with them on go.green@ecsa.scot if you’re interested.

walking path on the canal

Routes

There are several signposted “quiet routes” for pedestrians and cyclists throughout Edinburgh. These keep you away from busy main roads and pavements. The City Council website has an interactive map which shows these routes, as well as cycle parking locations. To add to this network, the City Council are also introducing temporary road closures, cycle lanes, and wider pavements to make it easier to walk and cycle whilst following physical distancing. You can see information about all these closures here.

You can also use Cyclestreets. This is a useful journey planner for active travel, as there are options to see quieter routes, set your expected speed, and see a profile of the routes you can take (e.g. how hilly it is; how many traffic lights you’ll need to stop at). Don’t let the name fool you, you could use this for mapping out a quiet walking route too, the only difference would be the time it would take.

On-campus facilities

There are a range of facilities at Edinburgh College to help you cycle. If you’re using your own bike to get to campus, you can request access to our secure cycle storage areas by speaking to a member of the Security team at reception - you will just need to show your student card – or by contacting them on security@edinburghcollege.ac.uk if you aren’t required on campus as frequently. There are also showers and changing areas on all campuses, which you can also enquire about with reception. The communal changing facilities in sports areas will be closed, but there are facilities specifically for cyclists and runners that will be open if you need to come onto a campus. These will be cleaned regularly as part of improved campus cleaning processes put in place across the college.

Regular Dr Bike events, where you can get your bike fixed on campus for free, will be scheduled soon - keep an eye out for more details.

Puncture repair kits and bike pumps are kept at reception desks for staff and students to use should you have to come onto campus. Some bike storage areas also have a pump.

Getting a bike

If you don’t have your own bike, you can use the Edinburgh’s Just Eat Cycles bike hire scheme to travel to our Sighthill and Milton Road campuses. There is currently a limited-time “Back to Work” offer currently available, which costs £10 for 4 unlimited months use. A student discount will also be available - more details will be announced soon.

If you have an old bike gathering dust at home, you can now get £50 worth of free professional repair and maintenance work to help you make it roadworthy again, thanks to funding from the Scottish Government. For more information, see the Cycling UK website.

There are several second-hand bike shops in the city where you can buy a cheap bike. Here are some suggestions:

There are also a few schemes that provide free bikes:

Public Transport

Due to current physical distancing advice, there will be significantly reduced capacity on public transport. It is therefore important to note that delays might be expected, and full buses will not stop for further passengers.

Face coverings are currently a legal requirement when travelling on public transport (unless you have an exemption), so plan for this. However, as you will be able to see from the links below, all public transport providers have put significant measures in place to reduce the risk of using their services. These should therefore still be considered as a reasonable transport option, to help avoid increased congestion from more people driving.

To access up to date travel times and routes for Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams you can download the Transport for Edinburgh app on Apple or Android.

Buses

The Lothian Buses website and First Buses website both have a wide range of information about safety on bard, timetables, journey planning, and ticket pricing. Guidance surrounding safe travel on both services differs slightly, so check out Lothian Buses and First Buses information depending on which buses you’ll be using.

A Lothian Buses Ridacard can be good value if you use the buses and trams a lot - but do remember that you are likely to be travelling less than usual, so it might be cheaper to just buy tickets for the day you travel, rather than a season ticket.

Now that restrictions are starting to be relaxed, there are also likely going to be roadworks and diversions due to any necessary roadworks. We’d therefore suggest you check the Council website to see if there will be any delays on your route.

Trains

Train timetables are currently subject to change, so Scotrail recommends checking your service is running 24 hours before you travel. You can do this on their website, where you can also book tickets and find guidance on how to travel safely on board.

There are train stations near almost all of our campuses:

  • Brunstane station is approximately a 5 minute walk from Milton Road campus
  • Eskbank station is approximately a 5 minute walk from Midlothian campus
  • Edinburgh Park station is approximately a 15 minute walk from Sighthill campus
  • No train stations are within easy walking distance of Granton campus, however there are multiple Lothian bus routes (24, X37, 47, 113) that arrive at the campus from both Haymarket and Waverley stations.

Trams

If you are travelling to Sighthill campus, there is also the option of taking the tram (the Bankhead stop is a few minutes walk away). Lothian Bus Ridacards can be used on the trams, as long as you activate your card on the platform before you board. You can also buy individual tickets (£1.80 for a single or £3.40 for a return) on the platform before you travel. More information about the trams is available on the Edinburgh Trams website, along with their Covid-19 guidance.

Even if you are travelling to a different campus, the tram line might still be a useful link in your journey. They run from the west of the city to the city centre (as shown in the line map below), where you can then get bus links to all other campuses whilst still using the same day-pass:

tram map

Driving

Liftsharing

In line with Scottish Government guidance, we would currently strongly encourage you not to car share unless it is with members of your own (or extended) household.

Parking at Edinburgh College

To be able to park in the college car park, you must have a student parking permit. Returning students can continue to use their 2019/20 permit. New students can request a permit by emailing reception@edinburghcollege.ac.uk or speaking to the reception team on campus (only do this if you are already on campus for classes - do not travel in just to get a parking permit). Permits must be displayed clearly in your car so they can be viewed by parking enforcement officers. Although anyone can get a permit for free, this does not guarantee you a space in the car park, as spaces are first-come-first-served.

International Travel

If you will be travelling to Edinburgh College from outside of the UK, or returning to the UK after a foreign holiday, you may need to self-isolate for 14 days upon your arrival. The only exception to this requirement is if you are travelling from one of the countries specified on this Scottish Government webpage. For information on what you must do before and after arriving in Scotland (including a link for the passenger locator form) visit this webpage.

Travel Funding

To check if you are eligible for travel funding, you can use the college’s funding tool. If you are on a full time Further Education course, please make sure you complete your EMA/bursary application form. For other courses, or if you’re not sure, you can contact the student funding team on studentfunding@edinburghcollege.ac.uk.

Currently, all Further Education bursary and Education Maintenance Allowance applicants are being assessed for campus travel as normal. If the college makes the decision to deliver your course 100% online for any period of your course, you would not receive travel payments for the period you’re not required to attend campus (or placement). If you only have to attend campus for part of a week, your travel award would still be paid in full.

Students on part-time or ESOL courses who would normally apply for help with their travel from the discretionary funds should do so as normal when courses start, and will be assessed according to their individual need.