Getting Around in Aberdeen
Getting around Aberdeen is straightforward, and most residents prefer to use public transport to get to and from work. Owning a car is not essential as Aberdeen’s buses connect most areas of the city. However, having a car does offer the freedom to explore the countryside and is particularly useful for expats with children.
Although the Scottish weather is not always conducive to it, cycling is another great way to commute in Aberdeen and keep fit.
Public transport in Aberdeen
The public transport network for getting around in Aberdeen mainly consists of buses. The city’s buses are efficient and get commuters to almost anywhere. There is also a railway network that connects the city to others parts of the United Kingdom.
Buses are the main mode of public transportation in Aberdeen. First Aberdeen has a monopoly on the city's bus services. There are more than 20 bus routes in Aberdeen, most of which begin on the outskirts and run through the city centre before travelling to other suburbs.
The frequency of buses varies between routes. Generally, services run at intervals of 15 minutes during the daytime and every 30 minutes in the evenings and on Sundays.
While there is no local commuter system in Aberdeen, the city is well-served by national rail connections. From Aberdeen railway station it is possible to catch inter-city, regional and local train services to various parts of the UK, including overnight sleeper trains to London.
Taxis in Aberdeen
Taxis are readily available in the city centre and most taxi companies offer booking services online, via mobile application or by telephone.
Passengers are usually charged a base fare and a fee for each additional mile they travel. Most people only use taxis for short journeys as fares are relatively high.
Cycling in Aberdeen
Cycling is also a good way to get around Aberdeen. Unfortunately, there is no bike-share scheme so residents who want to cycle have to invest in their own bike, but the city does have a fairly good network of cycle paths that connect certain suburbs through the city centre. However, cyclists should be aware that some cycle lanes are shared with buses, though these are usually regulated by dedicated traffic lights. In areas without adequate cycling infrastructure, it's possible to ride in the road but cyclists will need to be cautious, especially as Aberdeen's roads are rather narrow.
Driving in Aberdeen
Driving in Aberdeen is straightforward and poses no real challenges. The standard of road infrastructure is good and signage is generally clear.
Driving conditions in Aberdeen are good and local drivers are courteous to other road users. However, expats should be aware that roads in Aberdeen are often affected by snow and fog in winter. Although local authorities take measures to grit the main roads, smaller roads are often slippery and the risk of accidents is high. Drivers need to be especially careful when driving in severe weather conditions.
As is the case in the rest of the UK, EU citizens can drive on their licence from their home country until it expires. Non-EU expats can also drive on a licence from their home country, but can only do so for 12 months before they will need to exchange it for a UK licence.