Public transport is great in London, you have buses, trains, underground, over ground and many other options including those oh so silly Boris bikes. When the transport works and runs on time for the most part it’s great, but as we build up to the Olympics and as I’m using the underground tube more frequently in rush hour I’m beginning to hate it with a passion.
Before I moved to London I remember hearing a quiz question on radio 1 about what the most annoying thing about the tube was, I was shocked to find out the answer was people not letting you off the tube before they board. As a tourist to the capital city I always thought how much I loved the novelty of riding the tube. Since living in London all my opinions have changed!
Every day I ride a national rail train, a Victoria line train and a Bakerloo line train, I change at Oxford Circus – one of the busiest stations. My work hours have changed in the past month and I now find myself taking these tubes with half of London. Crammed like sardines because people will not wait 5 minutes for the next train, it’s becoming a nightmare, my journey is getting longer and serious I’m thinking of cycling 6 miles to work and the same to get home to avoid the tube if it really does get busy in the Olympic games time. In the past week alone I had been crushed on the Central Line, had my work route obstructed by suspended lines or major delays and been walking in to with such force I dropped everything I was carrying.
It seems from the moment you step underground everyone loses their manners, their people skills and any general respect they have for another human being. Here are my top pet hates of other users on the underground.
- Not leaving a gap at the doors to let people off – The one everyone else seems to find the most annoying as well. It’s inconsiderate and really makes life difficult when you have to fight your way through the crowd just to get off the train, maybe I don’t push and shove enough but why should I have to?
- Invading Personal Space – The tube is busy and you are desperate to get home but there is no need to push your way in to a gap that isn’t there, hit someone with your oversized rucksack and then stumble into them when the train starts moving because there is nothing to hold on to. I’m little if someone crams into my personal space it means my face is below shoulder height, leaving me with little space to breath.
- People Who Don’t Apologise – You’re in a rush and you knock in to someone, what is the first thing you would do, say sorry surely. No not on the underground, that person will just keep walking like nothing has happened.
- Hygiene – I once saw a person clipping their nails (hands and feet) on the tube and letting the clippings fall on the floor this was not only disgusting to see but also extremely un-hygienic – there’s a place for those things and it certainly isn’t the tube.
- People Who Won’t Give Up A Seat – I travel with children on the tube frequently, and it really bugs me when a person who is perfectly fit and healthy won’t give up their seat for an unsteady 5 year old to sit down.
- Silence – The thing I find the most strange about the tube is how everyone is SILENT, I always listen to my ipod on work journeys, but when I ride the train with friends or the kids at work I find others staring at us for talking or even making noise. Just because we are underground we don’t have to be silent.
The public transport really is the best way to travel and makes getting around London easy. Despite my moans I would still recommend it as the best way to travel around the city and see the sights. Just be prepared to come across people who have left their manners at the ticket barriers!