By Nathalie Jacquemard
The snow in Brighton last night took many people by surprise. It had been snowing all day, but it didn’t settle until mid-evening. When it laid, it did so at alarming speed: sending the transport network into meltdown.
Many were left stranded: Four Brighton workers tell their stories.
Boots the chemist sent their Operation Evening team home at 7.30 pm last night. The team was meant to be working til 9 but by 7.30 it was clear that most of them would have problems getting home.
Martin Musaad, from Portslade, found that they were no buses or trains running, and had to trek all the way back to his flat. He described his long walk home as “like walking through a ghost town.” Not an experience he enjoyed or would like to re-live any time soon.
Steve Reeves, “Chili” to those who know him, a taxi driver for 25 years with Streamline, started his 9 hour shift at 3pm yesterday. By 6pm he had to abandon his taxi on Hove’s New church Road, and go home. Some of Steve’s colleagues persisted but stuck to the main roads. Steve says “We feel obliged to stay out to help our regular customers as we are a public service but we have to weigh that against the risk to our cars and the fact that one taxi off the road for two weeks is a damaging loss of income.”
Steve told me that when it snows customers tend to be very aggressive and just don’t understand that you cannot necessarily take them to their front door, especially if they live at the top of a hill, for example. Taxi drivers have to deal with violent customers on a regular basis but Steve says: “Worried people trying to get home are more likely to get violent than the drunks I have to ferry home on a Friday or Saturday night.”
Sam Windsor, a graphic designer for Brightwave left work at 5.30pm and foolishly opted to go for a drink with a friend before making his way home to Carden Hill. He left Wetherspoons on North Street at 7 and realised that there were no buses or trains running. Reaching the Open market, he saw Ditchling Road littered with abandoned cars and concluded that it was just too cold and treacherous to go on.
Rosie Murphy, a bartender at The University of Sussex’s East Slope Bar, was also stranded in the snow. “We were assured we’d be able to get a taxi home, but when we finished at 2am the taxi company had closed down all their services. After a busy shift full of drunken students allowing themselves a hangover as they expected a snow day, all I wanted was to go home. Instead, I faced the night on the sofa of a campus-dwelling friend, with the company of my drunken manager and an energetic hamster. Having been stuck here, I was guilted into helping the understaffed bar the next day, despite my excessive workload. Fortunately as supervisor, I managed to slack off, and both write and edit pieces for Brighton Lite.”
How were you affected by the snow? Tell us in the comments.