Garmin GPSMAP 62S
First of all, it s not called London Underground. Londoners only call it that when they re talking to tourists and visitors. It s really called ˜the tube and an underground station is just a ˜tube station .
There are many, many confusing things about the tube: random tunnels which sole purpose seems to be to confuse tourists, a fare structure that Albert Einstein would have difficulty making sense of, and Garmin GPSMAP 62S travelgpshq stations that were designed by the most talented maze designers ever to have lived. So to help you get around, here s my guide to travelling on the tube.
Get a Map
First, get a map. That will tell you what all the 11 lines are called, the colour used to signify them (you ll need to know that this when following the signs), and where they all go. The names of the lines are fairly random. What no A, B, C like on the New York subway? No, no, no. You re thinking logically. That doesn t help. The whole point of the tube in London is to leave people utterly confused and bewildered. The tube is a sprawling mess, you will never understand it, just aim to get where you want without going insane. That s the most you can hope for.
The names of the lines aren t even related to the destinations. Most are related to the names of the companies that founded the new electrified railway of London back in the 19th century. Some names are ridiculous, like Bakerloo for example. I can imagine that conversation in the board room of London Underground at the turn of the century.
So chaps what shall we call our spiffing new addition to the underground electrified railway
What about the A line?
My God Wilson have you Garmin GPSMAP 62S taken leave of your senses? The ˜A line! What sort of a suggestion is that. You ll be suggesting we call the others B, C, D and so on. Perish the thought. That wouldn t confuse visitors nearly half enough. That will never do. Jenkins, what have you come up with?
Well it goes through Waterloo and it goes through Baker St, so what about Bakerloo
By jove you ve got it. Well done. If that doesn t confuse Johnny foreigner I don t know what will. Minute that Janet . . . er . . .Miss Jones. That concludes the meeting. Anyone for Pimms . . .
But I digress. A map is essential, so you ll want to get one. But don’t get the sort of map you have to unfold 5 times to read, it wont be appreciated on a crowded train or station. GetÂ a pocket sized one, that you can reference easily when you need to.
If you talk to ANYONE on a tube train. Doesn t matter if the person is your best friend. Doesn t matter if that person is your spouse of 17 years. You will be taken as either a lunatic or just foreign. Laughing loudly on the tube will most certainly confirm in the minds of most Londoners that you are mentally ill, or worse an emotional European, or worse a zany American. Eye contact should never be made under any circumstances. If you do make eye contact, the person will assume you are intending to mug them, and may perform a preemptive strike before calling for a policeman.
Get Out of the Way
If you are lost in a tube station, do not stand in the middle of an entrance or exit with 5 bags of luggage while you stare confused at an upside down tube map. This will piss people off immensely. The first rule is GET OUT OF THE WAY. Find a spot where you won t cause an obstruction, then find your bearings. If you do this, people will be happy to help you if you ask.
We like buskers, they can make a journey more interesting. There are exceptions though like the man who plays the bagpipes at Green Park station at 08:30 on Monday morning. He also plays on Westminster Bridge. If you see him, don t give him any money unless he promises never to play bagpipes at that time in the morning ever again.
I can assure you hearing what sounds like someone squeezing a bag full of injured cats for the hundredth time as you exit the station bleary eyed on a Monday morning, is neither quaint nor charming.
Mind the Doors
Don t hold the doors open. Not only are you more likely to get injured, but you will also delay the train and stop hard-working Londoners getting Garmin GPSMAP 62S to or from home or their place of work. When you hear the words This train is ready to depart, please stand clear of the closing doors it means the train is ready to depart and you should stand clear of the closing doors.
It does not mean, take a run up from 7 feet away in the vein hope that you will be able to defy the laws of physics and somehow manage to squeeze your frame through a 3 cm closing gap. Nor does it mean you should thrust your suitcase/handbag/head between the doors and try to prise them open with brute force. You will only receive disapproving looks from the people on the train and on the platform, and possibly a sarcastic comment over the PA system from the train driver.
You won t understand them, so best ignore them. Not even Londoners understand most of them, so you won t have a chance. Just leave it.
Don t ever, ever, ever stand on the left side of an escalator, EVER. If you do, the people of London will hate you and whisper rude things behind your back.
They will not ask you to move. They will roll their eyes, bitch about you behind your back and sigh heavily (this is known as ˜huffing and puffing and it s the traditional British method of complaining without saying a word and if it were an Olympic sport the Brits would have more gold medals in it than anyone else). This is the British way. Asking a stranger to move out the way is simply too embarrassing.
Just remember to walk up on the left, and stand on the RIGHT. If you have luggage with you, put it on the step below or above you, but on the RIGHT. If you do this, all Londoners will be your friends. If you don t be prepared to be the recipient of a lot of huffing and puffing.
There is a special wide access gate for people with suitcases or in wheelchairs, or with pushchairs. Use it. The ordinary gates open just long enough for the average person to get through. They do not open long enough for the average person, her pink giraffe print wheelie-case and matching hand luggage to get through. If you try, the gate will get very annoyed and close on you, beep and tell you to Seek Assistance in red letters.
You will then be in the unenviable position of having to ask the spotty surly station assistant for help. This person would rather be at home playing online fantasy games than assisting you detangle yourself from a barrier gate. He will not be pleased. The people behind you will not be pleased. Best avoided.
Only use the oyster reader, if you have an Oyster card. This is the little blue plastic electronic travel card with ˜oyster written on it. Yes it s a stupid name for a travel ticket, but they had to call it something. A paper ticket will NOT work on the oyster reader. If you have a paper ticket, insert it into the slot just below the Oyster reader. If you put the paper card onto the Oyster reader, the only thing that will happen is Londoners will laugh and point at you.
Don t play it out loud, otherwise you will be subject to serious huffing and puffing (see above), and don t jig along to your favourite track. In the context of the music you can hear, your movement may be super-cool, but in the context of what everyone else can hear, you look like and attention seeking idiot.
The price you pay for a ticket or travel card can depend on what zone you are in, what zone the station you are going to is in, the time of the day, the day of the week, whether you buy a paper ticket or electronic, whether there is a full moon, whether there is a Y in the month etc. Suffice to say the fare structure on the tube is baffling.
But it doesn t matter how baffling it is, staff on the tube are taught there is no excuse for anyone not have a valid ticket. You didn t realise you were in zone 3? Â£20 penalty fare. You didn t know your oyster card had 1 pence short of the amount you needed for your journey? Â£20 penalty fare. There are no ifs, buts or excuses. Don t have a valid ticket for your journey? Â£20 penalty fare.
If you get caught out not having a valid ticket, don t try to argue, don t try to explain. Just pay the penalty, chalk it up to experience and go on your way. Otherwise . . .
So . . .
Enjoy the tube. Enjoy London. Have fun and mind the gap.