During my seven years in London I have learned a few essential rules of travelling by tube. My average journey to work takes 45 minutes, so that is 1.5 hours a day, 7.5 hours per week, 390 hours per year. Times that by seven… I have spent 114 entire days and nights on the London Underground and that doesn’t even count travelling in leisure time.
Do: Stand at the bottom of a staircase helplessly with your heavy suitcase. Londoners are chivalrous and one of them will help you.
Do not: Stand to the left of the escalators. Ever.
Do: Offer your seat to pregnant ladies and old people.
Do not: Ask a woman when the baby is due if she isn’t wearing a “baby on board” badge, She might just be fat.
Do: Give money to buskers, they always cheer up a boring tube journey. One of my favourite things about travelling by tube (if you can have a “favourite” thing about something so tedious) is entering the station a little tipsy after a great night out and a cool busker serenades you with Oasis or Paul Weller.
Do not: Give money to beggars. They are organised professionals on £73k a year… if you believe the Daily Mail.
Do: carry a bottle of water with you and eat breakfast before you board the tube.
Do not: Faint. It will piss everybody off and hold up the entire line, although if you are lucky somebody will give you their seat.
Do: Have your oyster card in your hand or pocket.
Do not: Rummage through your bag for it at the exit barriers, unless you want to create a line of human dominoes.
Do: Carry antibacterial wipes with you and wash your hands when you alight the train. Or wear latex gloves.
Do not: Think about all the millions of other hands touching the hand rails and where all those dirty, germy hands may have been.
Do: power walk down the left of the escalators and along the platform as though your life depended on it.
Do not: Wear a rucksack and run down the escalators, especially if you have dark skin or a suntan.
Do: smile and make eye contact with your fellow passengers. It won’t kill you
Do not: speak to them, that’s definitely pushing it.
Anything I have missed? Please do comment.