I am gob-smacked. Truly gob-smacked.
I have spoken before, of how by travelling into London you get a better deal that if you commute around the South West. But I didn't realise quite how much a better deal you get. Having read some comments about season ticket prices on I Hate FGW's blog, I have investigated the price of tickets from Bath to London and from Bath to Cathays. Here's what I found:
Bath Spa - London Paddington
Daily Open Return: £121.00
Weekly Season: £174.80
Thus a weekly ticket costs 1.44 times the price of a daily open return.
Bath-Cathays (just outside Cardiff)
Daily Open Return: £16.60
Weekly Season: £70.80
Thus a weekly ticket costs 4.26 times the price of a daily open return.
That's not even close to being fair. In fact, put another way it means that commuters to London travel Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for free.
It means that commuters in the southwest get Friday afternoon for free.
Oh, and don't forget, if you travel to London you get relatively comfy, high-speed trains that are in the process of being refurbished. You get an on-board buffet, toilets, tables, optional first class and plug points at your seat.
If you travel between Bath and Cardiff you get the crappiest trains FGW can find (they gave all the nice ones away). These trains are often dilapidated, the toilets don't work, the windows leak when it rains, the air-con doesn't work and on half of them there is no room for a 6ft man to sit down comfortably, let alone tables to do some work.
How does FGW justify this disparity? I'll write to them and ask.
I think I'll let the local rag and my MP know the situation, while I'm at it.