Commuting to Work: An IMG Guide

9 Minutes

If you want to relocate to the UK to embark on an NHS career, you might be eager to learn more about the country’s daily life. As the commute might take up much of your time, it makes sense you will want to learn about the most popular modes of transport and what to expect when travelling to and from your workplace. If so, read this international medical graduate (IMG) guide to commuting to work in the UK.


Various factors will likely determine how you commute to work, such as your chosen city, the proximity of your workplace, and the cost of transport. However, a car is the most popular option for commuting to work in the UK. According to Statista’s findings in 2019, 68% of the nation travels to work by car each day.

Due to the UK’s small size, you could quickly drive to another city for work. For instance, medical professionals can live in Liverpool but commute by car to a Manchester-based hospital within an hour, depending on traffic.

How to Apply for a UK Driving Licence as a New Resident

If you have a non-GB driving licence, you might wonder how you can obtain a licence once you relocate to the UK. You might be pleased to know you can drive in the UK for up to 12 months using your current passport, depending on the country.

However, there are some steps you’ll need to follow, as you must:

  • Be a minimum of 17 years old to drive a car or motorcycle.
  • Live in the UK for at least 185 days before applying for a driving test and full UK licence.
  • Pass your UK driving test within the first 12 months of arriving.
  • Send a D1 order form to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) with supporting documents once you have passed the test to exchange your licence.

You will have up to five years to exchange your license with the DVLA, as long as it hasn’t expired.


Travelling by train is the second most popular mode of transport for commuting in the UK. Many professionals, including healthcare practitioners, prefer to travel via public transport due to its ease of use, interconnectivity, and affordability.

For example, approximately 35% of Londoners travel to work via train, which is the highest usage for rail commutes in the UK. Also, another 20% hop onto the London Underground, a form of rail network, to travel to and from their workplace.

How to Save Money on UK Train Tickets

There are many ways to money on train tickets when completing postgraduate training or travelling to an NHS setting. For instance, you could buy a season ticket or railcard to save hundreds of pounds when commuting to work. Visit a train station’s ticket office to identify the best season ticket or railcard option for your specific commuting needs. Remember – buying tickets in advance is always cheaper than buying them on the day of travel, and off-peak is more affordable than peak travel times.


Approximately only 9% of the UK’s population walk to work daily, as many people travel to work via car or train. It is a smart choice if your home is a short walk from your workplace or you’re eager to enjoy some exercise before and/or after work.

How to Walk to Work in the UK

If possible, walk through quieter streets or paths to avoid major roads, as it is safer and more enjoyable when travelling on foot. If you plan to walk more than a mile to work, it is wise to wear high-quality walking shoes to prevent tired, aching feet throughout the day and ensure you’re not late for work. Also, bear in mind that British weather is unpredictable, which is why you should wear layers, including a rainproof coat or jacket, and carry an umbrella.


Another 7% of the UK’s population travel to work via bus. It is a popular option for UK professionals who don’t have immediate access to trains in their area or need a more affordable route to work. However, bus usage is likely to increase due to the government’s commitment to making the public transport option more affordable, easier to access, reliable, and energy efficient.

How to Take the Bus to Work in the UK

If you have never travelled via bus in the UK, you might be unsure where to start. You will have two options to plan your route. For instance, you can visit your local bus stop to identify the route number that goes to your destination. If in doubt, ask the driver before stepping onto the bus. Also, bear in mind that there are two bus stops on each side of the road for buses that travel in opposite directions.

Another option is to visit a bus company’s website to identify the route number you need for your desired destination. You can request a single (one-way) ticket or a return ticket before paying the fare to a driver and grabbing a seat.

Don’t forget to ring the button to instruct a driver to stop the bus at your desired bus stop, and a driver might be happy to announce your destination if it’s your first time travelling via bus. Social etiquette is to thank the driver when getting off and during other interactions.


Bikes are a great way to exercise before and after work, but only 3% of the UK’s population cycle to their workplace. Interestingly, twice as many men hop onto a bicycle than women; however, the average woman who cycles to work will travel twice the distance of men.

How to Cycle to Work in the UK

A cycle route planner can help you plan the perfect cycling route to work each day. What’s more, the UK government has introduced a Cycle to Work Scheme to fund your bicycle and equipment using monthly salary payments. It will save you between 32% to 42% on cycling gear, as you won’t pay tax or national insurance on the amount. An NHS employer will deduct the amount from your payslip over an agreed, fixed amount of time.


Only 1% of the UK population travel to work via motorcycle. Yet, there are many benefits to hopping onto a bike instead of stepping into a car, train, or bus. In addition to being a fun way to travel to and from the workplace, it is easier to navigate through busy traffic, reduce your travel time, and lower the cost of fuel.

How to Commute Via Motorcycle in the UK

UK law allows people to travel via moped (up to 50cc) without a licence. UK law for a non-GB motorcycle licence is the same as its requirements for driving a car, mentioned earlier.

There’s a lot to consider when moving to a new country and we’re on hand to help. Email us if you have any questions or would like to know more about the latest job opportunities from the NHS.