1) Thou shalt not run for the tube
I remember when I first moved to London. When I got my first tube to work, it was my first time experiencing the London Underground during rush hour. My commute commences on the Northern line and when I first saw the packed tube of unhappy looking commuters I actually laughed to myself. I couldn’t believe the cattle like conditions people endured to simply make some dollar in the city. Six months later and the novelty has well and truly worn off. TFL has successfully broken my spirits and my coping mechanism for this is to disengage my brain for the duration of my commute. However, in my short time as a commuter, I have compiled some general rules all London commuters should abide by to make the journey slightly more bearable.
1) Thou shalt not run for the tube
Unless you are on the Circle or District line which has one tube every ten minutes, if you are lucky, there is no need to run for the tube. On average, they come every two -three minutes. The amount of times I have been barged into because someone is running for the tube is ridiculous. If you are late for something then you are late, in the grand scheme of things a few more minutes won’t make THAT much of a difference. So if you barge into someone when running for the tube then you deserved to get trapped in the doors as far as I’m concerned.
2) Thou shalt be mindful of your pull along suitcase
I understand, nobody wants to take their suitcase on the tube during rush hour if they can help it. It’s stressful enough trying to navigate your way around a platform without someone walking into you or trying to cram yourself onto a tube which already has people’s faces pressed against the window. However, please be mindful of your pull along suitcases. There have been a few times where I have almost broken my neck tripping over one of them, and if I break anything then I will sue. Where there is blame there’s a bloody claim.
3) Thou shalt not say “Please move down!”
It’s Monday morning, it’s winter, nobody wants to battle their way to work on the tube. However, seeing as taking the bus will take double the amount of time and for most of us cycling to work is almost the same distance as the Tour de France the tube is the primary mode of transport for many commuters. So unless you are lucky enough to live at the beginning of a line, you will spend most, if not all, of your commute with your face pressed against the window or someone’s armpit. This is bad enough, but there is nothing more antagonising than someone trying to get on the tube orders everyone to “Move down!!!!”. Bitch, I’m not stood smelling someone’s armpit for the fun of it, where the hell do you want me to move? I understand you need to get to work, but please do not rile a large group of stressed commuters who woke up less than an hour ago.
4) Thou shalt be mindful of those who may need your seat
If you look around on the tube, 99% of people will be staring at their phone/tablet/laptop or have their head buried in newspaper. This is normal. Making eye contact with a stranger on the tube is a cardinal sin. However, there have been quite a few times I’ve looked around and spotted a pregnant woman/elderly person being forced to stand because nobody has bothered to look up. It literally takes a couple of minutes to look around and check if someone might need your seat more than you.
5) Thou shalt realise your complaints will fall on deaf ears
TFL claim all the profits it makes are reinvested into London transport. Depending on where you live, this may be up for discussion. For example, if you are on the Northern line like me you may bitch and complain about how crowded and awful it is. However, generally you can accept that the trains are frequent, it’s pretty fast and there aren’t many delays. If you are on the District or Circle line, you may question this due to the line always being delayed, slow and awful. However, if you are unfortunate enough to leave near a bad line, realise angry tweets to TFL will fall on death ears. After all, what are you going to do? Use an alternative mode of transport?