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Taking the Tube in London

by Josh Kraus

Aug 18, 2014

Canary Wharf Tube Station, London © Krisztian Miklosy-Dreamstime


The Tube, London’s legendary rapid transit network, transports nearly 3 million passengers a day through 270 stations. To survive – nay – to thrive in this 151-year-old testament to human achievement, heed the following advice:

  1. Save money

Do your wallet a favor and purchase a reusable Oyster card instead of paper tickets. A single fare on the Tube can run up to £4.70, but with the pay-as-you-go Oyster card you’ll knock that down to £2.20. Plus you can manage your card’s balance from an online account.

  1. Plan ahead

Even the most well-oriented subway enthusiast can get lost within this distinctly-scented labyrinth, so plan your trip ahead of time by using the Journey Planner or the Tube Map app on your smart phone.

  1. Make room, make room, make room!

During rush hour, try to think of the train car as half empty rather than half full, and move to the end of the car so others can get on. If it’s crowded and you’re wearing a backpack, take it off and put it on the floor between your legs. Try not to put your bags on an empty seat. And if you possess Spiderman-like abilities, don’t be selfish, hang from the ceiling. Nobody’s using it.

  1. Honor thy Tube

Respect the Tube for the same reason you respect your grandparents: it’s old, it’s grown accustomed to operating a certain way it brews a great sun tea … okay that metaphor really got away from me, but if you want to honor this historic institution, always let passengers get off before you get on. Give up your seat for the elderly, the pregnant and the disabled. And finally, don’t chat with strangers. Silence is golden on this silver bullet, and daily commuters just want some bloody peace and quiet.


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