On the best days, commuting in London is like a bit of an assault course. On the worst days it’s like a full on triathlon. Those that regularly commute in and out of the city will know what I mean when I say that you need to be nimble and quick on your feet. So with that in mind I thought I would pass on a few of my commuting tips and tricks which might just help you make it through the city without hardly breaking a sweat:
1. Always have your pass in the most accessible place in your bag or jacket so that you can grab it just before you get to the barriers. Definitely load up an Oyster or use a contactless card for your trip. Why fumble with a ticket when you can swipe and go without breaking your stride. Stopping and standing in front of the barriers to rummage through your bag for your ticket is like sacrilege to the everyday commuter. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
2. Walk with purpose and conviction, never breaking your stride and never EVER making eye contact with anyone. If you walk straight on and without looking at anyone except where you are trying to get to, you’ll find that people will naturally move out of your way. The moment you make eye contact with someone you’ll find yourself bumping into people or doing a waltz in the middle of the station. I don’t know why this works but it does, take my word for it.
3. A basic one but nevertheless a good one to remind people of and clarify. Escalator rules. The right hand side is for standing, and when I say standing I mean one person per step, not side by side so you can have a conversation with your new blogging bestie. Commuters in London won’t think twice about asking you to move out of the way, whilst huffing and puffing and making a big fuss about you not understanding the unwritten rules. There’s nothing more that will kill your blogging conference buzz than a rude commuter so get it right. The left is for walking, and when I say walking I actually mean almost running. The left side of the escalators is pretty much a mini workout for all of us commuters stuck in an office all day. The fact that it is moving just adds a level of intensity to our brief albeit satisfying workout, so make sure your up for a short, sharp brisk workout if you’re going to enter the fast lane.
4. Actually getting onto the tube is a whole other ball game. First of all there’s the complex queuing/scrum system on the platform, which depending on which tube station you are in, you either queue either side of the doors (a la jubilee line) or spread out along the platform where you have to take your best guess on where the tube doors will stop, elbowing your way (ahem) I mean edging your way closer to the doors once the train arrives. You can tell who the regular commuters are, they’ll be the one confidently pitched on the platform in what seems to be a random spot opposite a poster. You could pick a commuter and stand behind them, but for those that want to get ahead, and not look like they are tailing a random stranger, there is an app (Tube Exits) that tells you exactly where the tube doors are on every London tube station platform. Pure genius! Once you’ve finally managed to elbow your way onto the tube, get off at precisely the right place on the platform, out of the barriers with a quick swipe and out of the station without looking at anyone, you should find yourself safetly at your destination!
What are your best commuter tips? Share them all here!