Ticket Office sales when starting short

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aleph_0

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A hypothetical question, based on a real scenario (I've changed the locations to anonymize and simplify the actual scenario).

I was behind a passenger at the ticket office the other day at Staines, and the asked what ticket they should get - they wanted to travel to Stansted today, but then on their return (about a week later), travel to Windsor.

I was wondering what the ticket seller is required to do in this case. I understand one isn't normally obliged to consider split ticket options, or starting short, but for the stated journey one has two (three?) main options:
1. Buy a Windsor-Stansted Return, and start short at Staines (the validity codes allow this)
2. Buy a Staines-Stansted Return, and a single Staines-Windsor.
(3? Buy a Staines-Stansted Return, and excess the return portion? - is this possible?)

Are there defined rules/advice as to what should be offered/checked?

(In this scenario, the seller went straight for option 2, but I'm not looking to criticise the seller here, the cost difference isn't huge, just curious what would be considered reasonable.)
 
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transportphoto

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Both 1 & 3 would cost the same, either of these unless 2 is cheaper.

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hairyhandedfool

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All three are options, depending on price, routeing, calling pattern and what the clerk considers as a viable option (we're not perfect), but consideration should also be given to a single each way (in this case it would be discounted as more expensive).

I believe the defined rules would be for 3 to be used (an over-distance excess), provided travel on the return is via Staines (i.e. to Windsor and Eton Riverside rather than Windsor and Eton Central), but most clerks would rather do 1 than 3.

If travel were to W&E Central, 2 would be used, with the single from Paddington to W&E Central, rather than from Staines, or a single each way if cheaper.
 
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