Welcome to the University of Leeds! This guide was written by the Commuters’ Society to help those living in their parental home / outside the main student areas of Leeds during term time.
Am I a commuter?
The term ‘commuter’ encompasses a broad range of students at Leeds. Perhaps the easiest way to explain who a commuter is, is that it’s students who have chosen against the traditional living situation of going into student halls or moving to the city centre. You may live on your own in another city, with your family in Leeds or further away, as a carer or with your own children. The chances are, if you think you’re a commuter- you probably are.
The Commuters’ Society was founded to support this broad range of often overlooked students. We hope this guide and our future socials can help students establish a sense of belonging at Leeds.
Social advice and making friends
It’s no secret that making friends as a Commuter can be challenging; that’s a key reason our society was founded. However, there are ways to socialise while living at home or outside the city.
Societies are a great way to meet new people and make friends at University for all students. However, they’re vital for commuters who don’t have automatic friends and connections from living in halls.
The Commuters’ Society (that’s us!) specialises in holding ‘rush hour socials’, the aim of which is that every student, no matter their transport arrangements or distance from the University, should be able to attend. In the past, we’ve been to Icestone Gelato, Junkyard Golf and held quizzes, movie nights and online gaming. Beyond this, we aim to represent commuting students at all levels within the University, building a better sense of belonging and experience for these students. We recommend joining our Facebook group to keep up to date.
We also recommend High on Life society, which focuses on holding alcohol free-events, as all their socials are usually inclusive of commuters.
You can find a full list of societies here
For specific public transport advice, please consult our comprehensive Commuters Handbook, which features our recommendations on the cheapest and best ticketing options for rail and bus. This section offers more general travel advice.
Assess your options
Start by using Google maps to assess your options, bus, train, car, walk, cycle, or a mixture of these modes. Consider the frequency of each method and its reliability and cost.
There may be a process of trial and error when you first start commuting, and you may realise that Google’s first suggestion is not the most suitable or most accessible.
Be prepared for cancellations and delays
Always have a backup plan and consider setting off with a bus or train ‘to spare’ after the one you intend to catch that will still get you to University on time.
Google maps and individual travel company apps will give you the most up-to-date information on cancellations and late public transport.
Utilise travel apps
Most travel companies have their own apps giving information on when services are due and enabling you to buy tickets on your phone.
Broader apps such as Trainline and the Mcard app can also be helpful depending on your specific commute.
Consult our travel tips document for more information on travel apps and their uses.
Commuting by car
Perhaps the biggest challenge of commuting by car is parking. There is very little parking space on campus, though there may be some provision if you require an accessible parking space.
Using one of Leeds’ 3 park and ride facilities is perhaps the best option for security, reliability and cost, particularly if you commute from further away. Day bus tickets for these facilities are £3 or £2.70 if bought in bulk. More information can be found here.
If the park and ride is not ideal for you, there are a few parking spaces on campus on Clarendon Road outside of Henry Price student accommodation, though these are taken early (at around 8 am).
Most students who drive park in Hyde Park (this is where many of the students live). However, be vigilant if you choose to park here as vehicle crime is high, buy yourself a steering wheel lock and ideally park outside a friend’s house.
If you choose to pay to park, the Woodhouse Moor car park is a popular option, costing around £7 per day; many office workers use this car park, so you might need to get there reasonably early.
Practical advice for commuting
What you’ll be carrying on your commute
Most commuters don’t have the privilege of popping back home during breaks between teaching; this can result in carrying heavy and burdensome bags around all day. However, there are ways to lessen this:
Utilise E-Books via the Library instead of carrying heavy physical books. You may also want to take pictures of pages in physical books you have at home if they are unavailable as E-Books.
The University has several free water refilling points (e.g. Outside of the Union and on each floor of the libraries), meaning you can avoid carrying large amounts of water around.
Several University buildings contain lockers you can store belongings in (e.g. in the Liberty Building and the Lower Floor of the Parkinson Building). These are used by taking your own padlock.
Keep an umbrella or compact raincoat in your bag for those sudden rain showers while standing at the bus stop.
Dress in layers, so you are suited for the climate in University buildings, walking between them and on public transport.
Without the ability to get home quickly, discovering your favourite study and rest spaces to utilise during your days on campus is important.
Explore different study spaces on campus when they’re open and have the most free space. You will currently need to book a study space if you plan to use the libraries and computer clusters.
Beware that the libraries are usually very full during exam season, and you may need to have alternative spaces in mind.
Join the Commuters’ Society Facebook group for the most up-to-date information on socials and events