Here are some tips to add razzle dazzle to your London Underground travel… or at least help you feel like less of a tourist.
1. Visit the Transport for London website for info and also for planned engineering works that may disrupt your journey.
2. A London tube minute can take 90 seconds. If a train is due in 5 minutes, it might come in 8.
3. Don’t eat smelly food
4. When you are told to Mind the Gap, Mind the Gap.
5. Let people off before you to get on.
6. Move right down inside the carriage. (It can be less squashy plus you may have a chance of getting a seat.)
7. Some people consider it acceptable to read the newspaper over another person’s shoulder. Others don’t.
8. Generally each line stops at every station so if you accidentally go the wrong way you can get off at the next station and cross back to the platform that goes in the right direction
9. On the escalators, Stand on the Right. If you Stand on the Left, you may find that you are forced to Stand the Right.
10. It is hotter Underground than above. If you are comfortable above ground, expect to be hot underground. When it’s hot, bring water.
11. The Tube map may be deceptive. Often you can walk the distance between two stations quite easily, and sometimes faster than taking the tube. Covent Garden to Leicester Square is a good example.
12. Sometimes changing lines on the tube can take as long as walking to your destination above ground.
13. The Northern Line goes South.
14. If you are at risk of falling asleep on the tube late at night, pick someone in your carriage who looks friendly and ask them to wake you at your stop.
15. The Docklands Light Rail (DLR) is included as part of your tube ticket.
16. Keep your Underground map on your person at all times.
17. There is very little phone coverage underground.
18. The doors don’t always open on the same side.
19. Big stations, for example Piccadilly Circus, have multiple exits to the street. If you take the wrong exit you may find that you are quite disorientated. I have yet to solve this problem.
20. You may be on a train where the driver attempts to make his announcements humorous. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they aren’t.
21. If you are travelling in London for a few days, an Oyster card is a handy investment. Buy it at a station and top up when it’s not busy so that you don’t have to top up when it’s busy.
22. Have your ticket ready at the barriers. Do not stop once you get there and hold up the queue to find your ticket in your bag.
23. This isn’t Paris. You need your ticket to get in, and to get out.
24. Expect stairs. If you need to bring luggage then bring luggage that you can easily carry up and down stairs. And keep your luggage close to you at all times.
25. Once you get to a platform, do not stop in the middle of the walkway as if there is no one walking behind you. This applies particularly if you are with a group of people, and / or have luggage.
26. Expect groups of people with luggage to stop in the middle of the walkway as if there is no one walking behind them.
27. If you have luggage and it is peak hour, there will not be a gap where you can easily walk into the ongoing flow of people. Put your head down, hold your luggage tightly and keep moving forward.
28. If you have luggage and you are new to the tube, you may find your journey more pleasant if you travel when it is not peak hour.
29. The staff are generally helpful if you need help, especially the people who can open the barrier for you if have luggage.
Do you have other tips for visitors on the tube?
Please tweet them to me @grandslamgal and I’ll add them to the list with your Twitter name.
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal