10 Essential Dos and Don’ts of Commuting in London
Londoners are not renowned for their friendliness and welcoming demeanor, especially on public transport. For all London graduates joining the joyful daily commute, here are few dos and don’ts that will help you get to work safely and most importantly, prevent you from pissing everyone else off.
1. DO get off the tube to let other people off. You’re a solid object for god’s sake, people cannot pass through you to get off, so just relax, get off the tube and wait at the side as you will be able to get back on.
2. DON’T bother queuing. We all know the stereotype that Brits love a queue, but underground, it’s every man and woman for themselves, so just huddle up as there is no space on the carriage for politeness. (Unless you’re on the Jubilee line – the elite of the underground lines where politeness is still a valuable trait).
3. DON’T stand on the wrong side of the escalator. Get to know – very quickly – that you stand on the right, and walk on the left. And if you want to walk, don’t walk at a snail’s pace, unless of course you are happy to irritate the 20 impatient London commuters behind you.
4. DO have your ticket or Oyster card ready well before you reach the barriers. If you have forgotten to take it out, stand to one side to fumble around in your bag – not at the front of the barriers!
5. DON’T stand in front of exits/entrances to stations. It’s not an ideal meeting place, it’s not the place for a phone call and it’s not the place to figure out which tube line you need to get on. Use your common sense and walk to a point where you’re not in the way of hundreds of people trying to rush to work/home.
6. DON’T eat smelly food on public transport. It’s just bad manners. Hot food, smelly food, wet food, greasy food – all banned. No one wants to see you lick the grease from your fingers after you’ve stuffed your face with a Big Mac and chips. The only time this is acceptable is late night when alcohol has got the better of you.
7. DON’T immediately stop as soon as you get off the train to figure out which way is out. Surprisingly enough, you’re not the only person trying to get off the tube so walk to a point where you are not acting as a human barricade and then figure it out.
8. DO move down into the carriage. It’s such a simple rule. Don’t worry that you won’t get off the tube at the next stop, it will be fine. Just move down until you get some rowdy commuter shout at you personally for taking up too much space – you don’t want that.
9. DON’T run for the train and try and beat the doors closing. Everyone will judge you for holding up their journey. With any luck, you will learn your lesson the hard way and either get trapped in the doors, or feel the embarrassment when you run for the train only to have the doors shut in your face.
10. DON’T, and this cannot be stressed enough, DON’T talk to your fellow commuters. Public transport in London is NOT the place to make friends or chat someone up. Regardless of your intentions it just creates an awkward tension that no one will thank you for. Asking for directions is about the only acceptable reason for starting a conversation. If you’re that pathetically desperate for some human contact, choose a tourist to talk to, because a London commuter has no time for your chat.
Now we can all commute in peace.