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Archive for March, 2019

Heathrow Express and Young People

Heathrow Express began accepting Oyster and contactless last month. As with the Gatwick Express, convenience is the word rather than value for money. The fares are the same as walk up singles. If you plan ahead then advance fares can be significantly cheaper. Heathrow Express has always operated on a kids go free basis, so there is no charge to holders of zip 5-10 or zip 11-15 photocards. The problem comes with zip 16+ photocards.

Holders of zip 16+ photocards travel at half the adult rate almost everywhere in Oysterland. For this reason you can’t add a 16-25 railcard discount to a 16+ zip photocard because you are already getting 50% off. Unfortunately Heathrow Express decided to charge adult fares to 16+ zip photocard holders on their services. This means that whilst adults and 18+ students get 1/3rd off off-peak if they have a railcard added to their Oyster, railcard holding zip 16+ photocard holders can’t.

It’s undoubtedly an oversight, and quite understandable, but I hope someone somewhere comes up with a solution. In the meantime it’s getting added to the When not to use Oyster page.

PS. The Epsom story (part 2) is still coming, very soon.

The Epsom Story (Part 1)

Before we get into the nitty gritty, a little background which might help to explain why Epsom took so long. Epsom station is managed by Southern, part of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). Trains are operated by Southern and South Western Railway (SWR), and SWR are designated as the lead operator so they set the majority of the fares from Epsom. One of GTR’s franchise commitments with the DfT was to enable Oyster PAYG at Epsom. To do this they had to provide the infrastructure at the station, liaise with SWR and TfL over what fares to charge and how these could be integrated into the existing Oyster system, and run the whole thing past the DfT for a final sign-off. Anyone with any experience of big companies liaising over projects will realise that this was not an easy task.

With that out of the way, now we come to what’s actually been agreed. Read the rest of this entry »