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School college and uni travel



September sees lots of Lewes Town residents going to a new secondary school or college and there is no excuse for hassling your parents to take you in the car.  You can walk or cycle to Priory School or Sussex Downs College’s Lewes campus, and good bus (and sometimes train) services are available for all schools and colleges.


You may qualify to have your travel costs paid by the county.

For education up to age 16 you can get fares paid if you qualify for free school meals or your family gets the highest level of working tax credit.  For secondary schools the school must be the nearest to your home and must be 3-6 miles away,.  There are special schemes for parents or children with disabilities that cause difficulty with walking, those attending sectarian schools and students with special educational needs. For more information see here

For post 16 education payment can be made to students from families in receipt of:  Income Support, Income based employment and support allowance, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, the maximum amount of tax credit, guarantee element of State Pension Credit, but only if you are going to the nearest college offering the course and this is more than 3 miles away.  If you are going to Brighton they will only pay for buses, not trains. More details here


If you do not qualify for free transport Freedom bus tickets provide pupils and students with unlimited bus travel on most routes within East Sussex. Freedom tickets cost £15 a week. Buy on the bus. You need to apply for a  choice ID  in advance to get these fares.  Details here

However if you just want to travel on Brighton and Hove buses you can get their bus ID and then buy weekly tickets for £9.50 (2014) on their web site or £11.50 (2014) on the bus. Details here

Trains are more expensive and the procedure for getting reduced tickets is annoyingly difficult.  Cheap tickets are only available for students 16 plus.  First you must get a Sussex Student Card.  Download a form here You need to send in a photo and get the form countersigned by your college.  This is difficult as you haven’t gone there yet.  You may need to contact the college as soon as your place is confirmed following your results.  Then you should allow 2 weeks or so for the card to come. Once you have got the card you can book a season ticket on line here You get a third off. .  You can tailor tickets to the exact dates of term with the same daily cost as the monthly ticket. Tickets to London Road are slightly cheaper. As far as I can tell these tickets can only be bought online at the Southern Web site.

If you are attending a further education college you may find the unizone ticket (below) cheaper.

Try to avoid journeys where you have to travel by train AND by bus. It is expensive and the tickets are difficult to buy.  You have to buy your train season ticket on line and then take it to the station where they will add the bus journey’s- called plusbusIn some cases this is more expensive than buying bus and train tickets separately.



Unizone is a unique Season ticket exclusively available for students

Brighton Unizone gives you unlimited travel to all stations below:

Falmer, Moulsecoomb, London Road, Preston Park, Brighton, Hove, Aldrington, Portslade, Fishersgate, Southwick, Shoreham-by-Sea, Lancing, East Worthing, Plumpton, Cooksbridge, Lewes, Southease, Newhaven Town, Newhaven Harbour, Bishopstone, Seaford, Glynde, Berwick, Polegate Hampden Park and Eastbourne. 


Brighton Unizone is available for the following periods:

  • Weekly: £15.30
  • Monthly: £58.80
  • Quarterly: £176.30*

Fares are valid from 18 May 2014 until further notice.

To qualify for a Unizone ticket you must be a Student of the University of Sussex, University of Brighton, University of Chichester, Plumpton College or hold a valid National Union of Students (NUS) card for a college in Sussex. Most sixth form colleges and FE colleges have an NUS branch you can join

Present your valid student card with a rail photo identity card at staffed stations within the Unizone area to purchase one. You cannot buy the Unizone ticket at Ticket Vending Machines or on the train.

Please ensure that you present your student card during all ticket inspections.

 Brighton Buses

You can get a student ticket on your phone. The ticket will cover the CitySAVER area and be valid on bus routes throughout the city within the area bounded by Steyning, Shoreham, Patcham, Lewes (Malling Down) and Seaford (Chyngton Lane).
The price of the student discount day tickets will be frozen at least until the end of the 2015 calendar year; prices of longer term student discounts will will not change during the current academic year.
It is for students attending Access to Music (ATM), Brighton University, Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM), City College, Northbrook College, Plumpton College, Sussex Downs College and Sussex University.
You will need to show your valid Student Registration Card with your M-ticket whenever you travel. An M ticket is a ticket on your mobile phone. More details here
Prices are: 1 day - £3, 7 consecutive days - £12.50, 90 consecutive days - £115


As usual, one of the best ways to plan your journey is at which will plot a journey from your house to the school or college of your choice, although the walking sections are not always the ones you would chose yourself.  If you are doing post 16 education you will not always have a full day so you need to know about buses throughout the day.  Do check all bus times before you set out.

Priory and Sussex Downs

You probably know where these are. The link above will give you the bus times. The nearest stops for most buses are Friars Walk or the bottom of Station Street because Network rail is too mean to repair the bridge at the north side of Lewes Station.


A special journey of the 125 leaves the bus station at 8.10, travelling via Malling, arriving at the college at 8.35 and comes back at college chucking out time.  There are also occasional 143 buses passing outside the college.  You cannot use Brighton buses M  tickets or key tickets on these services.  Otherwise the 28 bus to and from Lewes and Brighton passes outside the college every half hour.


Two 121 route buses leave the High Street at 8.10, travelling via Western Road and Neville Road, arriving at the school at 8.30.  One starts from the bus station at 8.08.  The buses return at the end of the school day.  You should be aware that bus times may change in April 2015.


The 166 and 824 from Lewes go to the college and the 166 actually stops in the college grounds, but these are not frequent and so the college has its own bus service. . Find full details on the college web site. You should be aware that bus times may change in April  2015.

Bhasvic and City College, Brighton

You have a choice of the train or the bus.  The bus is cheaper but less reliable and often takes longer.  A typical journey from the centre of Lewes to BHASVIC will take 40 minutes by train and 58 minutes by bus.  But if you don’t live near the railway station but do live near the 28/29 bus route then the bus may be quicker.  Travel Line South East will give you the times. The buses run every quarter of an hour.

By train most people walk from Brighton Station. which is just under a kilometre from Bhasvic and about 400 metres to City College  By bus the stop at St Peters Church is the right by City College.  This stop may also be the quickest route to Bhasvic if you walk up Trafalgar Street to the rail station.  But most people walk from Churchill Square (or, if it is raining get the14/14C (Hangleton journeys), 27 or Compass Bus 56 from the Clock Tower)


You chose Varndean because you liked the college, you are good at getting up early and you like walking, didn’t you? Varndean is probably the hardest college to get to. By bus or train you can reckon to spend 50 minutes plus travelling. The bus may be quicker.  Don’t get confused with Varndean School, which is on the same campus, but quite a way away.

Simplest train route is to go to London Road and walk- it is about 1.5 kilometres.

Simplest bus route is to get the 28/29 to St Peters Church (every 10 minutes) and then the number 5b or 55 going north (every ten minutes) This drops you outside the college.

Do let me know if you find any better routes than these.


Most infant and junior schools will be in walking distance of students’ homes    Some have walking bus schemes or schemes to promote cycling to school.  Ask what your school has planned.  Because there are a number of primary schools in Lewes it is difficult to get help with travel costs.  But see the article above.  If you are under 8 you may be able to get help if you need to go to a school that is more than 2 miles away.