This is a post that was brought to me for write up by my far busier middle sis-in-law, and on behalf of my lovely niece Jess.
My niece, Jess is on the cusp of exciting times. She's at the UCAS form stage, ready to mark down where she wishes to spend the next umpteen years of her education, studying to be a Doctor.
Now, studying to be a Doctor in this day and age of fees and living expenses etc is not cheap. However, just getting round the country to even go and view these possible universities is a costly expense in itself.
Two days ago, Jess heard that one of her "possibles" for uni, Cardiff University, was having an open day so prospective students can go and see what the facilities are, meet some of the staff, the usual meet and greet thing.
We all live in Maidenhead, Berkshire, which is, according to Google, 125 miles away along the M4.
Being that my sis-in-law is a busy person who works, and has my nephew at home too, and my bro-in-law is currently not well enough to make the journey by car, Jess decided to look up the train times for her journey.
This being the start of times when Jess wont have her Mum on her doorstep with her own personal taxi service (as she has now!), it was a great idea to get her more used to the independence that uni will bring her.
She hasn't been to a uni tour before, so, to be sensible, she wanted an open ticket, to come back the same time but not be effected by peak and off peak services.
Do you know how much First Great Western wanted to charge her? This is a young girl, staying within the UK, for a one day ticket, standard class, where she wasn't even guaranteed a seat.
*Picks self up from floor
What makes it laughable is, should Jess want to go off, like most teens seem to, to Malaga, in Spain a whole different country, with an open return ticket, it would cost just £81 to do so.
So, we can go hop on a plane to a different country, but to get two hours from where we live costs us £178?
That, to me, is ridiculous. Even if Jess had of booked in advance, the cheapest ticket available to her would have been £120.
Suffice to say, Jess decided to give the Cardiff viewing a miss. Which is terrible, that a teenage girl who wants to go off and become a doctor is hit with cost after cost at every turn.
Surely, as with uni students, this sort of journey should be discounted as long as the prospective student can prove their journey? We are all moaned at to let the train take the strain and use public transport to stop our roads being congested, but is it any wonder most people will take their car instead? My Sis-in-law reckons the petrol to make that journey would be £20, so in comparison that seems the far better option.
This is an Olympic year- why not bring down prices and attract more travel and tourism too.
The only Great Train Robbery I can see is the companies driving up prices and students, like Jess, missing out.
Know any other shocking fares? Let me know!