You won’t know this, but I’ve been living in London for the past 6 months and already I feel like I’m fully integrated. One of the symptoms of this integration is an affliction that affects many people who live here: tube rage! I know, I know, it’s not really something to be proud of but when you’re part of the London rat race, the last thing you want to deal with is delays, much less the ones caused by bewildered tourists. Oh, those bloody tourists! Always in the way, aren’t they? If you live in London, I’m pretty sure you are now nodding in grumpy agreement. If you are considering visiting London soon, read on and take into account these tips on how to not cause unnecessary disturbances.
• Plan your journey in advance. – Don’t be one of the suckers that’ll stop and block a narrow corridor, trying to decide which direction is best for you. There is no shame in not knowing the whole of the tube stations by heart (I know I don’t). But, when I need to get somewhere I’ve never been, I’ll have a look in advance. There are plenty of apps that can help you with this, not to mention the good old paper map. Please use them, for our sanity’s sake.
• Don’t stop and block a whole passageway, period. – I’ve seen this happen so many times. You might need to check the map (see above) or see if your friends are tagging along behind you and that’s perfectly fine. Just please make sure that when you do it, that you stand to the side and out of the way. This is valid for corridors, escalators, platforms, ticket gates and anywhere else where you might be getting in someone’s way. If you fail to do this, you’ll have other travellers swearing under our breaths (and some out loud) and that’s not very nice. So please, pay attention to where you’re going and what you’re doing, as you are not alone on the tube.
• Keep left on corridors, especially where indicated. – Besides not stopping anywhere, looking like a bunny caught in headlights, also take care to walk on the left side of the way, so traffic can flow easily and not cause any delays.
• Learn how to ride an escalator, damn it! – It’s as simple as standing on the right, walking on the left, there’s no need to be a rocket scientist to master this one.
• Don’t walk really slow, the Underground wasn’t made for sloths. – If you must, make sure you’re out of the way or you’ll risk hearing a very annoyed “Excuse me!” from the likes of me. I don’t like being that person, so please don’t make me do it.
• Be careful with your luggage. – Don’t leave it just anywhere, blocking passageways, train carriages, etc. I know how it’s necessary to ride the tube with luggage sometimes, taxi prices are ridiculous in this city, but it’s best practice to avoid rush hour.
• Move down the platform to avoid crowding. – Especially if you have no reason to be in that particular position. Crowding is not only annoying, but it can be dangerous too, as someone can accidentally fall on the tracks, which can be fatal.
• Keep your children close to you. – Which means, they will be out of the way. This will avoid not only general irritation, but also prevent accidents.
Londoners have a reputation for being rude, but when you have to deal with these things on a daily basis on top of all the stress, who wouldn’t be? So please, pity us locals and stick to the rules, if you don’t want to feel the full extent of tube rage!
On a serious note, these tips will not only ensure that you won’t be pissing off the locals but will also keep you and everyone else safe, by avoiding collisions, falls and other unsavoury accidental situations.