33 Unofficial Rules Everyone Should Abide By When Taking The Tube In London

Nov 20th 2015 | london | Written by Will Jamieson

Mind the gap. Keep to the right. TfL will tell you that these are the official rules of riding the tube; but anyone who battles their way through the depths of the underground hell every day knows these are the real rules of the tube:

1. Making eye contact with anyone is a big no-no. 

2. As is talking with anyone you don’t know. 

3. Don’t walk too slowly. You’ll piss people off.

4. Don’t walk two by two. This isn’t Noah’s Ark. People want to get past.

5. Stand on the right – but don’t stand on the right and stretch out so much you may as well be standing on the left.

6. If you stand on the left, whatever happens next is your own fault.

7. Be prepared to wade through people to get to the exit. It’s everyone for themselves out there.

8. Acknowledge that attempting to do this during rush hour is futile. You may as well be Simba in the pack of wildebeests in the Lion King.

9. Don’t fanny around. This is not a jolly. People are trying to get places. If you want a leisurely stroll, you are in the wrong place. 

10. If you grab the handrail and accidentally touch someone’s hand, quickly move it away and pretend nothing happened. 

11. For gods sake, move down the platform. It’s common sense, people!

12. By all means read the person next to you’s texts, don’t let them catch you. Because that would be awks.

13. Likewise, you can read the newspaper over their shoulder, but make sure you beat them to the end of the article before they turn the page, or you will live the rest of your life wondering about what that celebrity you don’t actually care about wore to that event you don’t actually care about.

14. If the train stops in a tunnel, you are stuck their forever, no matter what the train driver says over the speaker. Start putting survival plans in place.

15. Sitting next to somebody when the carriage is practically empty is for people with death wishes. People like their personal space. You’d do well to remember that.

16. You will fall in love with a stranger on the tube. You must sit there saying nothing until it’s too late. You will then berate yourself all day long and they will forever be the one that got away.

17. Getting on a busy tube with a large backpack feels exactly the same as sneezing in public during the Black Plague.

18. Be considerate, check your headphones. You may be enjoying listening to Susan Boyle, but you don’t have to subject the whole carriage to it.

19. If people get trapped in the closing doors, all you can do is laugh. They were warned.

20. Tutting and rolling your eyes is not considered rude; it’s an acceptable response to sheer stupidity, clumsiness or annoyance.

21. When two people go for one seat, be chivalrous. Even when the inevitable offering of said seat to each other ensues.

22. Waiting for a train longer than 3 minutes is unacceptable. 

23. But don’t think you can walk it instead. You can’t. Fool.

24. Nor can you find alternative routes by taking other trains. You are not being clever. You are an idiot. Wait for the next train.

25. Seats are for people. Not bags.

26. A discreet snack is fine, but if you come on with a McDonalds, accept that you become public enemy number one.

27. Don’t ever, under any circumstances, take the stairs at Covent Garden. Only fools do that.

28. Hold onto the handle; people that try to ‘surf’ home are an enemy to us all.

29. You are the undisputed God of the London Underground if you can slap your Oyster down and pass through the barriers without breaking your stride.

30. But anyone who waits for the barrier to close before using their Oyster or messes up the whole process deserves to be scorned. Amateurs.

31. Offer your seat to the elderly or disabled. Don’t wait for them to ask for it. They aren’t going to. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?

32. Don’t stand over the yellow line. It’s not cool or clever. 

33. And finally, mind the gap. If you didn’t already know.

It’s really lovely to have assurance from the company arranging the night that we will be looked after, even after we have paid the money - Charlotte