Southern Rail Crisis: The Effect On The Self-Employed

Posted on Dec 16th, 2016 | News and opinion

Southern Rail Crisis: The Effect On The Self-Employed, image of a train pulling into a station

Southern Rail delays and cancellations have brought misery to unfortunate commuters between Brighton and Southampton stations, with consistently poor punctuality over the last year and a half, forcing many of them to pack in, or even be let go from their jobs.

Every passenger has their own tales of woe about the notorious ‘worst service in the country’, from missed holiday flights to missed weddings, and many missed kids’ bedtime stories.

Through all the chaos, among the worst affected by the Southern Rail crisis are the self-employed, who, unlike those on a salary, are unable to support themselves without completing their designated work. Lacking the perks such as holiday pay, sick pay, and pension contributions, these workers rely solely on their paid gigs to pay the bills. A freelancer or contractor based in a client office simply won’t get paid if they can’t actually get to the office.

Unable to fulfil their daily obligations, self-employed workers like these have found themselves in financial trouble.


At a meeting set up by Hove MP Peter Kyle back in June, a self-employed commuter told Southern Rail bosses:

“If I’m late, I either have to work late or I don’t get paid. The 1817 to Littlehampton every evening is cancelled. I’ve got no social life anymore….I’ve been commuting for 11 years. The last couple of years have just been appalling.”

The battle between the rail unions, the rail company, and the Government is an extremely complex one with extensive collateral damage and no end in sight. For the sake of the micro-business community, we can only hope that a resolution to the Southern Rail crisis is reached as soon as possible.

Not all doom and gloom for some

On the other side of the coin, depending on your area of expertise, these difficult circumstances just might present the perfect opportunity to start afresh and embrace the self-employed, work-from-home lifestyle you’ve often dreamed of on those long journeys. After all, you’re much less likely to have a problem finding a seat or working toilet in your own house.

If you’ve lost your job and are stuck at home, you might like to download our guide How to Start a Business in Six Easy Steps.

This jargon-free PDF will show you how, with a little groundwork, you can have your own business up and running in the time it would take for the 7.29 to from Brighton to London to get you to work.


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Written by Tom West

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