Like millions of other people, I work in London. Like millions of people, I don't actually live there - I commute. And, like millions of people, I use trains, the Underground and buses to get to work. Unlike some, I really like London. And I don't like it because of those crappy reasons people always come up with - like it being 'multicultural' and 'metropolitan'. I like it because it's big, powerful, historic, busy and bustling. Like any big city, London has problems with its transport system. What's more, a number of these problems wouldn't be such big problems if people actually behaved sensibly when using the system. So here are my 10 top tips for using public transport in London, which TFL are free to steal to put on a poster.
1. 'Stand on the right' is not a suggestion. Escalators have room for two lanes of traffic; if you're blocking the left one, that escalator is instantly 50-75% less efficient.
2. When people bump into you, don't turn around and look at them with a distraught face which suggests they just raped you. 3 million people a day use the Underground; it's going to be crowded down there.
3. Standing in in the middle of an open door on an Underground train just makes it harder for people to get on and off. Get out, and wait at the front of the queue to get back on. If you don't, people will smack you in the head with their bags or elbows as they try to get off, and it's all your fault.
4. Pay attention to your stops, on both the Underground and the bus network. That way, you don't have to smash my nuts with your handbag as you frantically leap to the door.
5. Don't behave like a tosser. This includes listening to loud music, fidgeting, being drunk, being rude, and being smelly. Yes, I'm talking to you, 'strange, crack-addicted, shouting, guitar playing, body odour-producing Yugoslavian man who gets on at Baker Street.
6. On a bus, don't stand in the bottom of the stairwell - it's really fucking annoying. I have only ever seen one group of people doing this; female teenagers who are talking on their mobile phones.
7. I don't know the entire bus network off by heart, so don't bother asking me where this bus goes to. I don't know if this bus goes to Tesco; and why should I - I don't want to go there. There's a man at the front called a 'driver', and he is more likely to know where he's actually going to be driving to than me.
8. If you put your ticket through the barrier and the doors don't open, leave the queue and go and talk to the Underground staff. I realise it's annoying, and it has happened to everyone at some point, but standing there sighing and putting the ticket through seventeen more times isn't going to make any difference.
9. When you leave the platform of an Underground station, you'll often have to climb up those stairs. If you are the first person to those stairs, make an extra effort to get up them quickly. Those 200 people behind you getting cross have every right to shout at you if you saunter up slowly, reading the posters as you go.
10. A special fuck you to the people I like to call 'self-appointed arbiters of righteousness'. They can pop up anywhere - the train, a bus or the Underground - but they are universally wankers. When I'm on any form of public transport and I see a pregnant woman or an elderly person who doesn't have a seat, I weigh up various things in my mind. How pregnant is she? How likely is it that the old gent will topple over when we hit a bump? I also consider myself; how tired I am, how bad my perpetually bad back is, and things of that ilk. I'm sure I'm not alone; I would imagine that the majority of people around me are thinking exactly the same sort of thing; 'should I give up my seat?' What I do not appreciate, however, is some do-gooding fuck face deciding to take it upon himself to ask people to give up their seats. Fuck you, you fucking arsehole! You may as well ask people if they approve of baby rape, such is the pressure your smug nagging instantly puts on their shoulders. It is the absolute worst kind of emotional blackmail, and anyone who does it to make themselves feel a bit better should think seriously of fucking off.
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