Monday, 9 July 2012

A Tube Noobs Guide to the London Underground

Or: how not to get an irate Londoner in the small of your back.

Entering the station

Do not:
Loiter in front of the ticket barriers so no one else can get to them causing a massive queue
Push in front of people to stay with your group. We don't care. Brits queue. End.
Go to the ticket machine with no idea of what ticket you want
Go to the ticket machine with no change if you intend to pay in cash
Go to the ticket machine have a chat right in front of it.

Using the escalators

Do not:
Loiter at the top of the escalators so no one else can get to them causing a massive queue
Push in front of people to stay with your group. It's a long way down. For either of us.
Stand on the left. They're not optional.
Leave your luggage on the left
Stop at the bottom to have a discussion about which direction you need to go in
Stop at the bottom to have a chat about your date last night
Stop at the bottom to snog your date of tonight

Getting to the platform

Do not:
Create a rolling roadblock with your family, friends or other group. Some of us are not on holiday.
Comment about how everyone is in a terrible rush. Fancy a 2.5 hour daily commute? We're hungry, get out of our way

Using a platform

Do not:
Stand in the middle of the platform, neither forward nor at the back but loitering vaguely
Stand in front of the yellow line. Tubes hurt far more than Londoners if they hit you in the small of the back.
Loiter in the entrance as you fail massively to decide which of only 2 options you will choose - left or right
Choose the entrance as a good place for a snog/hug/handshake goodbye

Getting on the tube

Do not:
Stand in front of the door so no one can get off. We will barge through you as if you were not there. Think we're too polite cos we queue? Find out how wrong you are.
Try and get on the train before everyone is off. It's permission for us to play rugby. We will.
Race to get in front of pregnant/disabled/children in tow in search of a seat. You look like a douche-bag.
Comment on how hot it is. It's hot. Get over it.

Riding the tube

Do not:
Think you're too cool to hold on. A smashed jaw or broken nose is not cool.
Try and continue reading your paper in a space a small shrew couldn't wriggle through.
Get uppity about your personal space. There is no personal space. Get over it. Or walk.
Look nervous or comment when a train stops in a tunnel.
Sing, talk loudly, argue or otherwise bring attention to yourself in rush hour. You'll know if its rush hour.
Abandon your humanity the second you enter through the doors. People sometimes need help. Help them.

Getting off the tube

Do not:
Dawdle. How long have you know the next stop is your stop?
Assume everyone is psychic and knows this is your stop. Excuse me works wonders.
Stop just outside the doors to sort your shopping/find your oyster card/chat to your mate.

Yours, a very tired, very irritated, dreading the bloody Olympics temporary Londoner.

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