Annual Season Didcot - London

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Bedpan

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My daughter and her partner have recently moved to Didcot. He partner works in London (Victoria) and will buy an annual season ticket. He has noticed that that the cost of a ticket to London Terminals is £5096, or £5932 for an all zones travelcard, and that the ticket prices are exactly the same for Oxford to London. I am inclined to tell him to buy a ticket from Oxford rather than Didcot as firstly he can use the ticket for a "free" trip to Oxford at weekends if he wants to, and secondly, if there are problems on the Great Western main line an Oxford ticket would presumably allow him to travel Didcot - Oxford - Marylebone as an alternative) but I'm not 100% sure if this is correct, ie if a ticket from Oxford would be valid by both routes to London.

Also, might buying a ticket from Oxford be more trouble than it is worth, ie could it be that it would not work in the barriers at Didcot for instance. I was reading the thread "Intermediate Stations and Season Tickets" from September 2014, which admittedly relates to London Overground, and was wondering the same problems (ie "you shouldn't use a London - Oxford ticket to commute to Didcot every day") could be encountered. Then there was a more recent post about somebody at Gatwick scribbling on a poster's season ticket when he broke his journey there.

Any ideas/suggestions/expreiences would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!
 
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MikeWh

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An Oxford to London Travelcard season is undoubtedly valid at Didcot. I would not expect to encounter the same problems as those experienced at London Overground stations. I also think the Gatwick incident was more likely a one off as they are far more used to singles and returns rather than season tickets.

You are allowed to make as many full or partial journeys as you want along any permitted route covered by the season ticket. That would certainly include Didcot to Oxford as a part journey followed by Oxford to Marylebone as a further full journey. I don't think you have anything to worry about.

There is one caveat. For a small addition you can get Didcot to London AAA Newbury. If your daughters partner thinks that could be of more use then it should be considered, and that definitely wouldn't be valid to Oxford, obviously.
 

Hadders

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The ticket might not work the barriers at intermediate stations but this doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.

Simply ask to be let through manually.
 

Bedpan

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Thanks very much MikeWh and Hadders. I think I'll tell him that it's a choice between (a) Oxford and having extra miles and an alternative route for the same price, but probably having to show the ticket to get through the barriers at Didcot every morning and evening and (b) just sticking to a Didcot ticket which will work the barriers there.

I had noticed the alternative of Didcot or Newbury but as they are only a four minute walk from Didcot station and they haven't got a car, I don't think that it would be of much use to him.
 

island

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It’s the same price a couple of stations north of Oxford too if one is bothered enough.

The only consideration is that it might move him to a different service group for renewal discount purposes.
 

kieron

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Thanks very much MikeWh and Hadders. I think I'll tell him that it's a choice between (a) Oxford and having extra miles and an alternative route for the same price, but probably having to show the ticket to get through the barriers at Didcot every morning and evening and (b) just sticking to a Didcot ticket which will work the barriers there.
I wouldn't put it that strongly. A ticket from somewhere in Oxfordshire may work the barrier in Didcot, or it may not. That's all you can say without knowing anything about the barriers in Didcot.

I would say that your daughter's partner could consider using an Oxford travelcard to start with, and switching to a Didcot one if it's too much hassle. There's a changeover process to do this. As the tickets cost exactly the same amount, ticket office staff should be able to carry it out at no cost.
 

nickswift99

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I've always found the barrier staff at Didcot to be very friendly, passing endorsed tickets without question and generally being very civilised and helpful. The same is true of the ticket office staff there, so I wouldn't worry about challenges with the barriers or season ticket changeovers. I've often found the barriers unmanned in the evenings (after 1900) so they are left open. The ticket office should be open until 2000 daily but often closes early.

If you go down the Oxford ticket route, you can buy one from Chiltern which will also give you free travel on their network at weekends which may be a benefit if your daughter likes Birmingham.

Finally, car parking at Didcot is tricky at the moment as Foxhall is being rebuilt into a multi-storey. This means that no station season tickets are available there, although alternative arrangements have been made at the local football club. Combined with the Newbury blockades this has made the local car parks busier than normal but this should ease significantly once works are complete.
 

CyrusWuff

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I don't think that a Season ticket or Travelcard Season from Oxford would qualify for free travel on Chiltern at the weekend as GWR own the flow.

Similar applies for nNetwork tickets in the West Midlands, as they're a PTE product.
 

Dai Corner

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I don't think that a Season ticket or Travelcard Season from Oxford would qualify for free travel on Chiltern at the weekend as GWR own the flow.

Similar applies for nNetwork tickets in the West Midlands, as they're a PTE product.

https://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/new-customers#special benefits

Free weekend travel on all routes

When you buy a monthly or longer season ticket or Travelcard season ticket, originating from a Chiltern Railways station, valid on our services, and worth £150 or more a month (or £1,500 or more a year), you get FREE travel at weekends and on Bank Holidays across our entire network (except for the Bicester Village Shuttle Bus). You must buy your ticket from Chiltern Railways to receive this benefit. If your Season Ticket is on an Oyster card you must also have your paper record card to travel free at weekends and Bank Holidays. This offer does not apply on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Can we find a Chiltern station that has permitted routes to Marylebone and to Paddington via Didcot?
 

CyrusWuff

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Can we find a Chiltern station that has permitted routes to Marylebone and to Paddington via Didcot?
The obvious answer is Banbury, but that's an extra £20 or so a week (around £800 a year) compared to Oxford. Depends how much travel you think you might do outwith the validity of the ticket over the course of the year really.
 

mmh

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Paul Kelly

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Is it simply that the origin station needs to be operated by Chiltern? Would Islip suffice? Or Bicester Village? Both are the same price as Oxford and Didcot for an ANY PERMITTED Travelcard season.
 

island

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I don't think that a Season ticket or Travelcard Season from Oxford would qualify for free travel on Chiltern at the weekend as GWR own the flow.

Similar applies for nNetwork tickets in the West Midlands, as they're a PTE product.
Whilst I have considerable deference to you on Chiltern Railways topics, the terms of the offer say that the ticket must
  • Cost over £150 a month or £1,500 a year
  • Be purchased from Chiltern Railways
  • Originate from a Chiltern Railways station
  • Be valid on Chiltern Railways services
Nothing about owning flows (which is gobbledegook to the average passenger anyway). The only debatable point is what “a Chiltern Railways station” means – whether it refers to a station managed by Chiltern Railways (which Oxford isn’t) or a station served by Chiltern Railways trains. The former interpretation would exclude passengers who use West Ruislip and South Ruislip (managed by LU) as well as Small Heath, Acocks Green, and a few other stations in that vicinity, plus Claverdon to Stratford (WMT) and no doubt a few I have missed.

I beg to suggest that the usual principles of consumer law which construe ambiguous points in favour of the consumer would be engaged here and favour the latter interpretation.

I don’t think any nnetwork ticket costs over £1,500 so they will be ruled out on that account.
 
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island

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Buy the season ticket the other way around i.e. Marylebone to Oxford? Marylebone is a Chiltern managed station so it fits the wording of the offer at least, although I imagine there's a fair chance they'd say "London Terminals" as an origin isn't a station.
If the OP’s partner wants a Travelcard, which I understand to be the case, these can only be issued one way round.
 

W-on-Sea

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For what it's worth, I often travel between Didcot and Oxford on Oxford-London (day) tickets. It's completely legitimate to do so (and, although this doesn't prove or refute that), they always open the ticket gates at Didcot (strongly suggesting that season tickets between Oxford and London would too) . And yes, Oxford to London season tickets are valid by both routes.
 

bkhtele

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Yes,
For what it's worth, I often travel between Didcot and Oxford on Oxford-London (day) tickets. It's completely legitimate to do so (and, although this doesn't prove or refute that), they always open the ticket gates at Didcot (strongly suggesting that season tickets between Oxford and London would too) . And yes, Oxford to London season tickets are valid by both routes.
Season tickets Oxford to London terminals/travelcards work tbe barriers @ Didcot.
 

Bedpan

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Thanks everybody for all your help. He has opted for an Oxford - London monthly season to begin with, and may try a different option after that.

Why Didcot?

Because she has a new job at Harwell.

I've always found the barrier staff at Didcot to be very friendly, passing endorsed tickets without question and generally being very civilised and helpful. The same is true of the ticket office staff there, so I wouldn't worry about challenges with the barriers or season ticket changeovers. I've often found the barriers unmanned in the evenings (after 1900) so they are left open. The ticket office should be open until 2000 daily but often closes early.

If you go down the Oxford ticket route, you can buy one from Chiltern which will also give you free travel on their network at weekends which may be a benefit if your daughter likes Birmingham.

Finally, car parking at Didcot is tricky at the moment as Foxhall is being rebuilt into a multi-storey. This means that no station season tickets are available there, although alternative arrangements have been made at the local football club. Combined with the Newbury blockades this has made the local car parks busier than normal but this should ease significantly once works are complete.

They don't have a car but they live 4 mins walk from the station, less than a minute from the bus stop (and 2 mins from the entrance to Sainsbury's). With this in mind the Chiltern option may be worth looking into further.


The only consideration is that it might move him to a different service group for renewal discount purposes.
Not quite sure what this means. Would I be right in thinking that its to do with delay repay where compensation is paid automatically to season ticket holders? (or do they have to apply for each delayed journey like the rest of us?).
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Not quite sure what this means. Would I be right in thinking that its to do with delay repay where compensation is paid automatically to season ticket holders? (or do they have to apply for each delayed journey like the rest of us?
With GWR and Chiltern, you receive a discount on renewal of your season ticket if the punctuality and/or reliability of the trains is below a set percentage. However, whilst for Chiltern there is only one set of statistics, for GWR there are different statistics depending on which 'area' your season ticket is deemed to be valid for, and the point being made was that Oxford-London might fall into a different area than Didcot-London. The threshold for receiving delay compensation also varies depending on the route for which your season ticket is valid - on some routes it's for 30 minute delays, whilst on others it's for 60 minute delays.
 

CyrusWuff

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My understanding is that both Oxford - London and Didcot - London fall under GWR's "London Thames Valley" service group for Passenger's Charter purposes, which is defined as "former First Great Western Link routes".
 

Paul Kelly

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My understanding is that both Oxford - London and Didcot - London fall under GWR's "London Thames Valley" service group for Passenger's Charter purposes, which is defined as "former First Great Western Link routes".
In this thread from a few years ago, former forum regular LexyBoy states that London to Didcot is not in the London Thames Valley group. Maybe that is wrong?
 

LexyBoy

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In this thread from a few years ago, former forum regular LexyBoy states that London to Didcot is not in the London Thames Valley group. Maybe that is wrong?

I think that was based on my getting (or not) discounts which aligned with intercity rather than TV performance. Oxford I don’t know as I only commuted from London for about a year (on a Oxford-London Travelcard). Certainly won’t cause any trouble and is quite well known - I’ve overheard people on the bus/train advising an Oxford rather than Didcot ticket more than once.
 

island

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A colleague renewed an annual season ticket Didcot Parkway to London Zones 1-6 recently and was given the discount and void days pertaining to high speed.
 
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