Planning on visiting London, or just going for a trip around some of the city’s regions? You’re going to need a decent understanding of the London Underground then.
Although there are plenty of busses, above-ground trains, and other ways to get around in London, the Underground represents the most comprehensive transport network in the city. There are 24 million journeys made on the subway each day, and it’s surprisingly affordable to travel this way too.
Though a little daunting to beginners, the London Underground can be a wonderfully freeing experience once you get used to it, as it gives you the power to explore London however you choose. Here are some top tips to get you started.
Keep to the Right
There are often escalators going into and out of the underground, and you are always expected to keep to the right when using them. Make sure you’re not standing alongside your friends so other people can’t get past and try to keep any suitcases and bags as far to the right as possible. Sticking to this rule helps everyone to get around more efficiently.
Remember rush hour
Rush hour is one of the most stressful times for underground travellers, so if you’re new, it’s best to avoid travelling between 5 and 7pm, as well as between 7:30 and 9:30 am. This is when commuters are often going to be doing the most travelling.
Be Ready for the Barrier
Have your ticket ready when you reach the barrier so you can simply walk straight through. When London commuters are in a rush, they can get a little snarky with people who wait until the last minute to start looking for their ticket. If possible, it’s best to have an oyster card ready.
Stay calm and carry on
If you’ve ended up on the wrong tube or you miss your stop, try not to panic. You can always get on another train to get to where you need to be. Underground trains run every couple of minutes depending on the line, so you can get off at the next stop and use the printed map on the platform to plan your next route.
Let people off the train before you get On
This is a tip that a lot of people unfortunately ignore. However, it’s important to let people get off the train before you barrel into them. Allowing people to leave the train means you can get in and fill up the space so as many other travellers can get on with you as possible. Remember to move down the platform to find more space when you can. You’ll usually find more room at the back of the carriage.
Carry a bottle of water
If you’re going to be on the tube for longer than a few minutes in the summer, it’s definitely worth having a bottle of water handy. When you’re underground with limited ventilation and hundreds of other people, things get warm very fast. Keep a bottle of water with you so you can stop yourself from feeling faint when you’re travelling.
Keep your belongings close
London is a large city, which means that it can also be the home to various kinds of criminals. It’s best to hold your belongings as close to you as possible when you’re on the tube. Don’t rest your eyes and leave your bag unattended, or leave your phone hanging out of your pocket. Be vigilant and stay away from anyone who might look suspicious if you can. If something goes wrong, find a transport officer and ask for help.