Friday, 27 May 2016

How to Navigate The Tube

One of the most essential and convenient parts of being a Londoner is using the underground system, known as the Tube. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if you've not lived in a city before, so we've put together a few helpful tips.

1. Get an Oyster Card or a Contactless bank card (credit or debit both work)
Without a doubt, the Tube will be your primary mode of transportation. The Oyster card / contactless bank card is the most efficient and budget-conscious way to use the Tube. The rates are cheaper than buying visitor tickets, it's quick and efficient and it'll work on the London bus system as well.

2. Be prepared for crowds during rush hour
With the amount of people who live and work in London, it should come as no surprise that most take the Tube. Realistically, in a city this size, it is going to be more crowded at specific times. Rush hour is around 7:30am and 9:30am, and again at 5:00pm-6:30pm. If you do happen to use the Tube at these times, be prepared for overcrowded carriages and people rushing through the stations. Just keep moving and don’t dawdle.

3. Walk on the left, stand on the right
This is a crucial thing to remember, especially when it’s crowded. In the same way that the English drive on the left side of the road, commuters and tourists alike should adhere to this rule of (briskly) walking on the left-hand side and standing on the right, especially when riding the escalators.

4. Use your indoor voice
Something that surprises people is how quiet everyone is whilst "riding the Tube". This is not the case in most other major cities and it was usually tourists and young children who were talking. Everyone else listens to music, reads the paper or plays Candy Crush instead of chatting. Eye contact is pretty much avoided too.

5. Take advantage of technology
The website Transport for London ( or TFL Journey Planner app) is a great way to check if any lines are running late or suspended, and it offers alternate routes. A quick glance at your phone before your leave in the morning will save you the hassle of trying to find a different way to class or your internship site. Plus, you will become more familiar with other parts of the city when you take a different line. Another one to try is the handy CityMapper app.

6. "Mind the gap"
An iconic phrase that you will hear repeatedly in the Tube stations, “Mind the Gap” is a friendly reminder to be aware of the space between the door and the platform. It is also found on various signs around the stations as well so it's pretty hard to forget.