Although St Andrews is one of Scotland’s busiest tourist destinations, it is also one of the most difficult to access by public transport. In general, it’s pretty time consuming and expensive to access from Glasgow, but in any case it’s more than worth taking the time and cost to travel through. The distance between the two locations is around 90 miles, taking you across the breadth of the country easterly. I make this journey pretty much every day when commuting through to university, and have compared the prices and duration of different commuting options to weigh up the best possible method of transport.
There is only one bus that travels directly between Glasgow and St Andrews. The X24, operated by Stagecoach, departs from Glasgow’s Buchanan Bus Station once an hour and the full timetable can be accessed by clicking this link. There are three timetables, one for Monday to Friday, one for Saturdays and a final for Sundays so be sure to check the correct timetable in advance to avoid delays. From Glasgow, the bus takes 2 hours and 35 minutes and costs £12 for a one way ticket and £18.50 for a return. All day tickets, student and concession tickets can reduce your face so be sure to bring photographic ID and present it to your driver when purchasing your ticket on board.
Because St Andrews no longer has a train station, it is necessary to take two separate trains as well as a bus when travelling by train from Glasgow. A train from Glasgow Queen Street to Leuchars (with a change at Edinburgh Waverley) will cost roughly £24 one way or £28.50 for a return. Being the nearest train station to St Andrews, Leuchars is located around ten minutes by bus from St Andrews. The number 99 bus runs every ten minutes or less between the station and St Andrews Bus Station, and costs roughly £2 each way.
To drive from Glasgow to St Andrews will take around an hour and a half to two hours, depending on traffic. Cars can be hired from as little as £26 per day from trustworthy dealerships like Arnold Clark from their website. Typically, extra costs for car hire can include a pre-authorisation of up to and including £100 which will be refunded into your account within a few working days provided there have been no damages to the vehicle. Petrol for a return trip to St Andrews for a car with a one litre engine will cost you around £20, and could cost anywhere up to £35 for larger cars. If you’re visiting Scotland and have already hired a car, then car hire is definitely the most economical option for you.
Although typically I would always recommend taking the train over the bus when it comes to longer trips in Scotland, in this instance the bus is by far the more economical and efficient option. The entire time taken by bus and train is around the same, whilst the bus is significantly cheaper and does not require any changes at all. If you’re travelling in a group of three or more then to travel by hired car is potentially more economical and less time consuming.