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Meanderings on the London Underground

Meanderings on The London Underground station at Piccadilly Circus

-By Robert Murray-

I don’t know about you, but personally I think the London Underground is one of the most phenomenal things about living in this great city.  You can literally go anywhere! An underground maze of tunnels and trains that keep this city of 9 million, impatient people moving. And even more impressive? You never really have to wait more than 3 minutes for the next train to arrive on the platform… I mean, what’s not to love??! 

Actually, I’ll tell you what’s not to love – the people, or should I say, animals, that use it. Now, I know there are probably 6,000+ things that annoy people about tube users, however I’ve managed to narrow it down to my top 5, and here they are:

Deciding to look in your wallet or purse for your card when you get to the barrier 

This baffles me! You know you are going to need your card, or phone, or whatever apparatus you plan on using to tap through with. Why wait until you’re at the barrier to look for it? You’ve walked down probably 64 flights of stairs and across a gigantic ticket hall before you need to show your ticket, that is plenty of time to do the necessary rummaging. But no, people think; I know what I’ll do, I’ll wait until I’m next to tap through, then I’ll commence the search. And then, as if it’s not enough that you’ve held everyone up by looking for your card, you then go a step further by tapping one that results in you needing to “seek assistance’’ 

People getting on the train before you get off

Oh you can spot them a mile away! You’re pulling into Piccadilly Circus station and they’re standing on the platform, feeling smug, right at the spot where they know the doors will open… You can see them getting ready to pounce and then you hear, “please stand clear of the doors. Please allow passengers off the train before boarding”. Oh no, we couldn’t possibly do that. Impossible, I must get on first. What is wrong with these people?! It’s completely illogical. Wait for everyone to get off the train, thus creating more room for you and others to get on. 

People deciding that everyone in the carriage wants to hear their awful music.

Now I love house music as much as the next person, but there’s a time and a place. 3am in Playa D’en Bossa is that time and place, not the London Underground at 6:30am when you’re on the way in for a working day. At least wait until you get to the gym before you start pumping that stuff out! Also, even though everyone stares at the culprit, no one gives a damn and they just keep on bopping… each to their own I guess, just in future, turn the old volume down a notch or two. 

People looking down when the elderly or pregnant people get on and they don’t want to be decent and give them a seat 

Now, anyone who was brought up with at least one ounce of decency, knows that seats are prioritised for the elderly and the pregnant. There is nothing more frustrating and quite frankly, ruder than when an elderly couple or a heavily pregnant woman board the train and every single person all of a sudden becomes glued to their newspaper, their book, or in some desperate cases, the ground! 

When the next train is in 1 minute, it’s in 1 minute, just wait! 

One of the most glorious things about the London Underground is that there is a train normally, at least every 3 minutes, although at peak times, they can be as frequent as every minute… EVERY MINUTE..! What a time to be alive! Although, apparently to some people, this isn’t good enough. When the train is already packed, and clearly there’s no room, some people find it necessary to do all but kill someone to get themselves on that train. Even though the next one is in 1 minute… nothing can be that urgent that it can’t wait 1 minute. I appreciate that people have further trains to catch and connections to make, but just leave the office 1 minute earlier. Don’t ruin everyone else’s journey.

Despite the few bones that I have to pick with the way some people in London use the public transport, as I said at the beginning – the London Underground is a miraculous feat. I love living in London and I love the ease and efficiency of the tube. So, if you know that you’re guilty of any of the points above that I’ve mentioned, make everyone’s tube experience even more enjoyable and STOP. 

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