Return to on-site working – travel updates

* Updated 21 January 2021

Update Summary

Section 1 – Government announcements 

Travel corridors suspended as of Monday 18 January.

Section 2 – Public transport

Chiltern Rail and GWR are operating a revised timetable from Monday 25 January with changes to Oxford based services. Oxford Bus Company temporarily suspends Park&Ride 300 service and airline coach services will  operate to a revised timetable from Monday 25 January. Oxford Tube services are suspended until further notice.

Section 3 – Local announcements 

New electric scooter hire scheme for Oxford, plans announced for secure cycle parking in East Oxford and residents in Cowley await decision on low traffic neighbourhoods.

Section 4 – Staff Parking 

No further updates.

1. Government announcements

*Travel corridors suspended

From Monday 18 January all travel corridors with the UK have been suspended – meaning that all international arrivals who have departed from or transited through any country outside the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days will be required to both take a pre-departure test, and self-isolate immediately for 10 days on arrival. This includes British and Irish nationals.

This move will be supported by increased enforcement, both at the border and across the UK, with Border Force increasing the number of spot checks on passengers that have entered the country. The new measures will be reviewed on Monday 15 February. The government’s Test to Release scheme for people who arrive in England will remain in place, giving passengers the option to shorten the mandatory self-isolation period. More information can be found on the government's Coronavirus pages.

National lockdown

On Monday 4 January the UK Government announced a national lockdown for England.

Rules and guidance relevant for staff in national lockdown have been included below for ease of access:

  • You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home. Where people cannot work from home, they should continue to travel to their workplace.
  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should not go to work, even if you are not able to work from home.
  • You must not leave your home unless you have reasonable cause to do so, such as for work. Walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. Wear a face covering
  • Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubbleSee the guidance on car sharing.
  • If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.
  • You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms, share a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Accommodation will be closed except for specific reasons. You should not stay overnight unless it is essential for work purposes. This should only be with those in your household or support bubble. You must not stay in a second home or caravan.

Staff who are unsure if they should commute to work, or travel for work purposes, must liaise with their line manager directly in the first instance. Your line manager will assess the requirement for workplace attendance and travel and agree this with you in advance.

Visit the Occupation Health Services website to access the University’s COVID-19 Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool.

2. Public transport

Please do not use public transport for work purposes unless unavoidable

*Chiltern Railways

Chiltern Railways are running an emergency timetable with two trains an hour between London and Oxford Parkway,details are available on the Chiltern Railways website. Remember to check their website before travelling for any updates and allow extra time for your journey. Buy tickets online or via their app.

There is a Journey Check Alert Service which you can subscribe to, for real-time updates on your specific route into work.


GWR is making further changes to their timetables from Monday 25 January. They will continue to operate over 65% of services. The key change in the London Thames Valley is that Didcot-Oxford, Paddington-Oxford, Reading-Basingstoke, Greenford and Henley branch services will be hourly throughout the week and on Saturdays.There will also be some later start up and earlier finish times across the network. 

The changes are temporary, and can be quickly reversed to respond to increased demand when government guidance changes. They advise to check timetables before travel, details can be found Please check their website for any updates before travelling.

Cross Country Trains

Information about services and alterations can be found on the Cross Country Trains (CCT) Journery Check page. Visit the new CCT website for consolidated information about service updates and travel guidance during the pandemic.

*Bus companies

The bus companies continue to make changes to their timetable services and park and ride facilities, details can be found below.

  • From Sunday 17 January, Oxford Bus Company (OBC) have temporarily suspended the Park&Ride 300 service connecting Pear Tree and Redbridge Park&Ride sites with Oxford city centre. This is due to current low passenger usage. Customers are advised to use either Oxford Parkway or Seacourt as an alternative during this period. Park&Ride season tickets will be valid on all operational services for the duration of the adjusted services.
  • Normal timetables will continue for the Park&Ride 400 service which serves Thornhill and Seacourt and for the Rark&Ride 500 service which serves Oxford Parkway. Passengers wishing to travel to and from Redbridge Park&Ride will be able to use Thames Travel services X2 and ST1 or Oxford Bus Company City X3 services. These services provide up to eight buses an hour Monday to Fridays, six buses an hour on Saturdays, and four buses an hour on Sundays to and from Oxford city centre. More details can be found More details are available on the Oxford Bus Company website.
  • From 24 January, the airline coaches will be operating a further reduced frequency timetable. They continue to be unable to serve Gatwick airport. Details can be found More details are available on the Oxford Bus Company website.
  • Oxford Tube services have been temporarily suspended. Any customer who has booked travel or purchased a ticket are advised to contact customer services for a pro rata refund. The only coach service running to Oxford from London is the airline bus from Heathrow airport. Train services are available.
  • Stagecoach have introduced two new services in and around Bicester with improved links to the Eastern Arc in Oxford. More details are available on the Stagecoach website.
  • The Oxford Tube service has been temporarily suspended. 
  • Staff can access consolidated updates from Oxford Bus Company (OBC) and all of their subsidiaries online. For those who prefer to use Twitter please visit  the OBC newsfeed.
  • Staff can access consolidated updates from Stagecoach services online.  For those who prefer to use Twitter please visit the Stagecoach newsfeed.

3. Local announcements

*New electric scooter hire scheme for Oxford

Residents in the Headington area of Oxford will soon be able to rent an e-scooter as part of a trial to allow residents to both travel in a socially distanced manner and cut carbon emissions. The launch is part of a 12 month trial led by Oxfordshire County Council and Swedish e-scooter operator Voi Technology. This follows the government decision to legalise rental e-scooters earlier this year to support a green restart of local travel. The plans come as part of the government’s active travel grant announced in 2020. Please note that it is still illegal to ride a privately owned, non-rental scheme e-scooter on the public highway.More details are available on the County Council's website.

*Plans announced for secure cycle parking in East Oxford

Residents of the Iffley and St Mary’s areas of Oxford are set to benefit from a number of secure cycle storage facilities to allow them to keep their bikes safer from theft. Plans to be considered by Oxfordshire County Council are for 104 new secure cycle storage spaces along eight streets between Iffley and Cowley Road from The Plain to Bullingdon Road. More details can be found on the County Council's website.

*Residents in Cowley await decision on low traffic neighbourhoods

Residents in Oxford’s Temple Cowley, Church Cowley and Florence Park areas will soon learn of the progress made on plans to have Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, making residential roads in these areas safer for cycling and walking. A Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) is an area where motorised traffic is prevented from taking short cuts through a residential area by traffic blocks. This creates quieter streets where residents can feel safer and more comfortable when making local journeys by bus, by bike or on foot.

An informal consultation on the measures was held between 23 November and 17 December 2020. More details about the responses from local residents and next steps can be found More details about the responses from local residents and next steps can be found on the County Council's website.

*Zero Emission Zone 

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are proposing to create a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) Pilot in Oxford city centre, starting in August 2021.  The ZEZ Pilot would be based on a road user charging scheme. 

The formal consultation on the ZEZ pilot scheme closed on 17 January 2021. We are awaiting details of next steps from the local authorities and will advise you of further details in future travel updates. More details about the scheme can be found on Oxford City Council's website.

A supportive response from the University was approved at BESC on 10 December and PRAC on 15 December. Support for the scheme is based on University vehicles qualifying for a 90% discount until 2025.

City achieves Carbon Reduction Target

Oxford City Council have announced the city achieved its target of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 on a 2005 baseline, and set the date for a Zero Carbon Oxford summit which is to be held on 4 February 2021. Full details of the announcement and summit are available on Oxford City Council's website.

4. Staff parking

  • The Iffley Road Sports Centre, accessed via Jackdaw Lane, is temporarily unavailable to Temporary Permission to Park (TPTP) holders. All other sites remain accessible, visit the Travel website for details of available parking sites.
  • A total of 687 additional parking spaces have been created to support staff returning to work. Of these 145 are at Old Road Campus, 200 are in Central Oxford, and the remainder is in more peripheral locations within 30 minutes (approx.) walk of central Oxford. This brings the total number of parking spaces to 1,332.
  • The current, total number of full-time parking spaces utilised in the TPTP scheme is 787. Since March this year, there have been no reported incidents of staff struggling to locate suitable parking.
  • Departments have a new parking allocation cap. This is by negotiation, but cannot exceed 46% of staff numbers returning to work (46% is the percentage of University staff who arrive by car or public transport).
  •  Any HR issues around the allocation of parking spaces are dealt with by departments as usual.
  • The existing advice on criteria for granting parking spaces has been extended to provide a Covid 19 category for vulnerable staff. This has been reviewed by the EDU, HR, CPWG and approved by BESC.
  • Departments are required to manage the allocation of spaces against their cap. They can allocate more permits than their cap, to allow for shift and staggered working. The system allows staff to request a permit for a specific day of the week, am or pm.
  • Departments embedded within OUH sites are also able to access temporary parking support via the TPTP system.
  • Students are not eligible to apply for a temporary permit to park. If departments wish to facilitate parking for students, this will need to be handled at local discretion within operational space. Any queries should be directed to
  • The reintroduction of a charge for parking will be reviewed during the Michaelmas term. This is to deal with the inequity of staff travelling to work on public transport having to pay, whilst those allocated a permit are not charged. Any money raised is put into the Green Travel Fund to pay for improvements to cycle facilities etc.
  • Any proposal for the reintroduction of peak-time parking charges will be brought back to the relevant groups and committees for discussion. It is anticipated that the charges will be levied as a percentage of salary and based on the number of days per week that the permit is used – as under the normal permit process.
  • Travel information is being regularly updated, and permit holders are receiving a bi-weekly update on parking status every other Friday.
  • We are planning to bring the off-peak leisure permit option back in Michaelmas term. This will allow staff to pay for a permit to use during evenings and weekends for leisure purposes. Staff who require off-peak access as part of their work routine will continue to be able to request this for free within the TPTP process.
  • Secure park and pedal options have been announced this week. Staff can apply for access to secure bicycle shelters at Osney Mead by completing an online web form on the parking permit web page. FAQs for the service are also included on the page. On completion of the web, form staff are sent a map and bicycle shelter access codes by email; this service is supported by the RTOSW Helpdesk team.

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