Commuters may have many names for it, but the general feeling towards the London Underground is definitely one of love/ hate.
Squeezing your way onto a packed carriage when faced with the hot and humid elements of a balmy British summer may not be everyone’s ideal start to the day, but is the most accessible, affordable and unavoidable option for the majority of commuters.
In order to make commuting a much more pleasant experience, we’ve put together some top tips to make your daily battle with the Tube somewhat bearable. After all, is there any better feeling in life than securing that coveted seat on the Central Line?
Predict where the doors will open
One way to get first dibs on the seats (unless you find yourself getting on at Oxford Circus during Christmas shopping season!) is to get on the carriage first. Naturally, the way to do this is to be at the front of the crowds when the doors open, not to push your way through. A clever way you can tell where the doors will open on the platform is to look for “Mind the Gap” painted on the ground then see where there is evidence of wear and tear on the yellow line. These parts are worn due to everyone stepping on them, so wait here to beat the crowds. Of course stand aside and let the passengers get off first, we are British after all.
By Alessandro da Roma (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Don’t always assume it is your quickest option
If you are going on an unfamiliar journey it is easy to assume that the Tube is your quickest option. Many people make the mistake of projecting the Tube map spatially when actually it is quicker, and often more relaxing to travel by foot or Boris bike.
The underground is not accurate in terms of real distances, so there are instances where Tube stops are within a ten minute walk of each other, but travellers go out of their way by underground with a number of changes en route. Give your oyster card a miss where you can, and even squeeze in some exercise at the same time.
If you want to know if a distance is walkable, this is what the Tube map should actually look like.
Know your exits
Everyone wants to cut time of their daily commute, and it can easily be done by downloading the Tube Exits app.
If you have ever been stuck behind a queue of tourists trying to make your way up the platform when transferring lines, this app offers commuters information on which carriage they should be boarding to arrive right by the platform exit or way out sign, allowing you to make a swift exit. No worries about not having signal, this app works anywhere in the underground station, platform and train and can also provide quickest journey information.
Spot the seasoned commuter
As work dress codes have become more relaxed over recent years it is often hard to spot a daily commuter by how they are dressed, but look for someone with a strong coffee and newspaper in hand, headphones firmly in and most definitely avoiding eye contact with everyone on board. They will have tried and tested every combination over the years, and be a good indicator of where the emptier carriages will be. If you are not verging on stalking, also try to follow behind a seasoned commuter when alighting the train as they’ll be moving through stations at very high speeds- a guaranteed way to move through the station faster.
Some say the ultimate underground hack is to avoid it altogether, but you don’t have the luxury to find an alternative way to commute, experiment with these tips and see how much time you can save.