Tuesday, February 25

Andrew Kay: Yak Yak Yak

- August 23, 2016

City of commuters

I moved to Brighton 30 years ago because of a few simple things. Firstly because it was a great place to live. Secondly because it was so very much cheaper than London, and finally because it was commutable. I could work in London and live here – result!

Back then the train journey was about an hour, so that hasn’t changed. Back then the trains were pretty busy, often standing room only, no change there either. Back then the service was subject to delays caused by snow or leaves on the line, I think the same forces of nature still play their part.

Forces of nature still play their part

Of course as a commuter I was prone to the shortcomings of the service on weekdays. Now I travel mainly at the weekends and suffer the disruption caused by engineering works. The Brighton line is quite clearly akin to the Forth Road Bridge and those long suffering painters.


A few weeks back I needed to be in London for a string of weekday events. I was aware of the dispute that was playing havoc with our massive commuting community, and I sympathised. I have known that look on your London-living colleagues’ faces when you arrive late or cannot get in because trains have failed to get you there on time or at all.

I planned my trips well and funnily enough managed to get there and back three times during the strikes. It wasn’t easy. I had to stand for some parts of the journeys and yes, I was delayed. But I did it and I saw many many people who were also doing it, putting on a brave face in the heat and struggling to the coalface despite the disruptions.

Perhaps I was lucky, perhaps I made good decisions about the times I travelled or was it just that many regulars had simply given up trying. It is after all so much easier now to work remotely for some of us, but what about the rest. Given progress surely Brighton & Hove should feel closer to the capital and not become more remote?

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