This morning I tried to take a train from Brighton to Seaford but gave up the attempt.
When I arrived at the station there were long queues at all the ticket machines and in the booking office. It was touch and go whether I would catch my train. Whilst waiting, I noticed that the train was one of the class 313 stock which have just been introduced - these are the cast-offs from London Overground. They have no toilets, and as I needed to use one, I gave up, went home and then took the bus. As I have a bus pass, I saved £2.65. Surprisingly, I arrived at my destination only five minutes later than if I had gone on the train.
If one is going to travel in discomfort, there is no point in paying if one can go free of charge. And since one now has to allow 20 minutes to purchase a ticket, the train doesn't even save time.
The interesting thing is why Southern has done nothing to resolve the ticket machine problem in the five years it has had them. I have complained endlessly to Southern and even put forward suggestions for improvements. I cannot imagine I am the only one.
My personal explanation is that since Britain is run for the benefit of the handful of people who own most of it, nobody with the power to solve the problem really cares if everyone is put to trouble and incovenience whenver they travel by train.