The London Underground is an engineering marvel and one of the most iconic public transport networks in the world. As such, any visitor to the English capital will be well aware of the advantages of taking ‘the Tube’, but with millions of people making their way from A to B across the city every day on the Underground, it pays to be prepared in terms of proper Tube etiquette.
Exploring the city can be a stressful affair for those that are not acclimatised to the hectic and busy Tube network, but by reading on we hope visitors to this vibrant and exciting city can pick up some helpful tips on how to make these journeys more of a breeze.
Top tips for Tube travellers
A little know-how can go a long way towards being better prepared to meet the rigours of the Underground, so here are our top ten tips to make the experience of travelling in London a much more pleasurable undertaking for all. Read on:
1- Invest in an Oyster card – One of the best ways to cut down on the stresses of travel via the Underground is to invest in an Oyster card. This small card can be pre-loaded with funds to pay for fares and it is easily swiped at barriers to allow individuals to travel through more quickly.
2- Patience is a virtue – Remember that everyone has a common goal of reaching their destination when travelling on the Tube. Therefore, travellers should always wait for people to disembark from trains before attempting to get on board. If you’re fighting against the crush of people leaving then you’re only slowing yourself down (and probably receiving a few dirty looks in the process).
3- Keep left – Because of the cramped spaces that make up many of the stations along the Underground network, there is a system in place that helps to keep the flow of travellers moving in both directions. Always keep left when moving through stations and Underground walkways; this is also true of escalators, with the right-hand side reserved for those who wish to keep walking.
4- Don’t obstruct the doors – Again, be aware of those around you when travelling on the Tube; always keep clear of the doors on trains. Not only can it be dangerous if you get caught in the closing mechanism, but people need to get on and off with relative ease for the trains to be able to run efficiently.
5- Don’t be a public nuisance – Keep noise to a minimum when travelling on the Tube, and this means ensuring conversations should be quiet and headphones are turned down. You might enjoy listening to heavy metal while making your way from A to B, but the person next to you might not be so enthused.
6- Hold on tight (at all times) – The trains on the Underground will be stopping and starting regularly as they come into and leave the many stations along each line. This means travellers must ensure they are stable and secure, as the bumpy nature of Tube travel can easily lead to people falling over if they are not careful.
7- Keep your belongings safe, but out of the way – Visitors to London might be travelling with a lot of belongings when making their way on the Tube, but they need to be aware of the fact that large luggage can take up valuable room. Don’t be tempted to take up a seat with a suitcase or rucksack, but instead keep these things close to you, between your legs when standing or on your lap if sitting down.
8- No eating or drinking – It can be cramped on the Tube, especially during busy times of day. As such, travellers should refrain from eating during their journey. You might think a bag of chips or a quick burger is a great way to fill up while on the go, but the people around you probably won’t thank you for it.
9- Move down the train/platform – Again, due to the limited space, travellers should head as far down the platforms when waiting for a train and the carriages when alighting.
10- A little common courtesy can go a long way – Finally, it’s important to help others when travelling via the Tube, as an understanding for the plight of others will make the whole journey that much easier for all. If you see a person struggling with a pushchair or large luggage, offer to help. It’s only good manners.
So there you have it! We hope that by following the above advice travellers will be much more mindful of what they can expect from a trip on the Tube. It’s not a perfect system and there often minor annoyances to contend with, but by following the above advice, everyone can get from A to B with relative ease and with less stress during their travels.