Being relatively new to London, I learnt pretty quick – as does everyone. At times commuting can be likened to the Hunger Games and a determined assertiveness is essential to ensure you complete the pre-9am gauntlet.
With the Olympics looming I thought it timely to write down some unwritten codes of underground travel in the Capitol…I mean Capital:
- Establish a habit of allowing the absolute minimum time necessary to make your journey. Pray the stars have aligned and none of the frequent daily delays have affected your tube line…
- …if the gods are not on your side, sprint like an Olympic er….sprinter through the station and take stairs three at a time.
- Remember we’re British so ideally carriages should be completely silent and eye contact or conversation avoided at all times. Aid this with a reading material or music (preferably both to appear doubly unapproachable).
- Adhere to the obvious: let people off the train first, don’t obstruct the doors, stand to the right on escalators and give up your seat to pregnant and elderly people (being careful not to offend).
- However…. it is deemed entirely acceptable to tut anyone who has boarded a packed train with a bike or excessive luggage/anyone talking loudly on their phone/passengers who have used a seat for their bag.
- Arm yourself with a passive-aggressive attitude. Appear seemingly courteous but stay strong in a pre-boarding crowd and don’t be intimidated into losing your fairly-won handrail space.
- Respond to delay announcements with numerous but barely-audible, blasphemous profanities.
In fact if ‘queuing’ or ‘quietly-seething-whilst-maintaining-an-outwardly-unfazed-demeanour’ were Olympic sports, the rest of the world need not turn up. We’re champions.