Learning London’s Tube Etiquette

My name is Sophie and I am the newest addition to the Allison & Busby team. I’ve been working here for precisely ten days and living in London for eleven days. Before I started this job I could count on two hands the amount of times I’d been into London. And on one hand the number of times I’d been on the tube.  Safe to say I was in for a treat.

I must admit, my morning commute to work is a lot nicer than most people’s. I jump on the tube for less than half an hour and the station is less than 200 metres from my house. There are even days when I get a seat. In my short time as a tube commuter I have noticed some unspoken rules that pass between my fellow morning travellers:

1.    There must be no strolling. Leave the elderly and infants behind and proceed at a furious march.
2.    Eye contact of any kind is prohibited. Stare solemnly at the floor if you don’t fancy eyeballing someone from four centimetres away.
3.    Read only broadsheet newspapers. Rather than fold them in half, open them out completely, preferably resting on a fellow commuter. And become indignant when others read over your shoulder.
4.    Rather than wait one minute for the next tube, claw the closing doors open with your hands and stuff yourself in.
5.    Commuters with suitcases or oversized bags must be treated as secondary citizens. Space should be made for their luggage, but not them.
6.    Play music on your Ipod loud enough for the whole carriage to hear. And attempt to look nonchalant when the Spice Girls comes on.
7.    And finally, do not move. Under no circumstances must you give up your well earned space. When people join the tube, cling to the nearest pole like a deranged monkey and refuse to budge an inch.

I am sure in the next few weeks many more tube rules will arise, and hopefully I won’t be flung under the tracks for a horrendous Tube faux pas. But tomorrow, I might just River Dance down the carriage dressed as Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, just to see if anyone notices. Or moves to let me pass.

Sophie Robinson, Publishing Assistant

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