Now that I have been in London since September, I feel that I have experienced enough of the tubes to make a post about them. I am far off being able to classify myself as a Londoner, yet I am past the point of tourist. I am still hopelessly clueless if I am not on my regular everyday route.
I feel incredibly lucky that I am able to do my placement in central London at such an amazing organisation and experience a bit of the big L. Here are just a few things I have noticed and observed while on my commute to and from placement on the city below the city, the underground.
1. You must prove your innocence
Firstly, there seems to be one unspoken rule I have observed that if somebody’s zip is partially open you MUST give them forewarning. God forbid they would accuse you of opening their zip.
2. You will gain arm muscles
As well as strong balancing skills and core strength, travelling on the tubes also gives you strong arm strength. When the train is so packed you can often end up with a dead arm. You could be holding your bag in one arm to make the most room possible, you then find yourself stuck in that position unable to move until the next stop.
3. Holborn Station
Do not even go there. Just don’t. It’s only taken me about 3 months to realise that it takes the same amount of time to walk 20 minutes to Kings Cross as it does to stand in the crowd of people passive aggressively attempting to get into Holborn station at 5:30pm. The central line should also be avoided at all costs.
4. You will face reduced escalators
Whilst we’re on the topic of Holborn station, there are currently reduced escalators due to repair works taking place. This means that if you arrive during morning peak you will be relentlessly encouraged to defy the laws of the underground and stand on both sides of the escalators. A study showed that it would get people out quicker to stand on both sides. They clearly did not take into account the angry sighs and tuts you would get if you do stand on the left.
5. Walking UP the escalator
Let’s be honest, unless you are extremely late for a meeting or an olympic athlete, who is actually fit enough that they can walk all the way UP the escalator without collapsing at the top? Maybe I’ll try it one day. What’s more… those that opt to take the stairs, I just do not understand this insanity.
There is a time and a place.
7. You’re not Hulk
The inevitable exchange of eye rolls and tuts when someone attempts to shatter through the 95% closed doors, causing them to reopen. Seriously, that 10 second delay is just unbearable. What’s worse is the ones that get on a carriage that is already packed to the brims and politely announce ‘Can you please move down’ as if there is any room to actually move down into. (I fully accept this is acceptable if there is actually space in the carriage!)
Lot’s of armpits!
9. The shock horror of 12 minutes
The absolute disbelief when you see anything above 3 minutes in orange LED on the departures board. Travelling predominantly on the Victoria and Piccadilly line with a good level of service at peak times, seeing the unseen of ’12 minutes’ to wait is devastating. On that note, having to wait more that 5 minutes for a bus now seems like a lifetime.
10. Finally, there is no better way!
I have indeed spent the majority of this post complaining about aspects of the tube. However, there is no doubt that it is one of the most convenient and quickest modes of transport and we would be lost without it! Having grown up in a village that barely has a train service I certainly do not take the tube for granted.