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London Underground Etiquette


I’ve been using the Underground every day for the past couple of months, since starting my new job in Farringdon. After a successful two year spell of dodging public transport, I’ve become a proper Londoner by joining this vast and popular network of continued discomfort, delays and financial burden.

As I now spend ages on trains, I have a lot of time to just observe people while my wifi’s down and ability to open a newspaper nullified by the absolute violation of my personal space. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts, tips and other random observations I’ve compiled during my short time traveling on the Tube.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Don’t give up your seat to someone unless you’re 100% they’re old enough not to take offence
  • But do give it up when you should – that’s as much insight as I have on this one I’m afraid
  • When you can’t get on the train and the next driver stops in a slightly different place, meaning you end up at the back of an entirely new queue again
  • Don’t laugh or engage in a loud conversation on the train. The Tube’s a place to quietly mourn the fact we all have to go to work, not a social club. Have you no respect??
  • Don’t travel with a giant suitcase on rush hour!
  • Actually, don’t travel during rush hour full stop
  • Don’t bring smelly food on
  • Don’t be that person who just has to get on and squashes everyone else against the window. There’s no level of late where you can’t wait 30 secs for the next train
  • If you’re gonna be playing the guitar in an underground tunnel – you don’t have to, really – at least make it upbeat music. Waking up early is sad enough as it is

Most annoying people

  • People who complain they’re having the worst day ever because of delays due to someone jumping in front of a train. Pretty sure at least one person’s had a worse day, mate
  •  The absolute savages who stand on the left (moving) side of the escalator. Oh and by the way, whose work of genius was it to make that an actual rule at Holborn station??
  • Pole hoppers
  • That guy whose foot or helmet prevents the train from leaving. Twice in a row.
  • The folded bike person. Really??

Irrational fears

  • To end up standing right in the middle of a crowded carriage when you need to get off
  • To get chopped in half when the train door shuts on you
  •  If someone farts right now, I might actually die
  •  If someone pushes me right now, I’ll definitely die

Hidden gems

  • When someone asks everyone to move down and drops one of those ‘we all need to get to work’ lines only to get spectacularly blanked
  • That little stand up cushion thing that’s not actually a proper seat
  • When you know the next station is the one everyone gets off at
  • Any space which is sufficient to open a newspaper
  • An actual SEAT!
  • The magic word: Cockfosters. Funny when you were 10. Still funny



  1. Great post, I don’t live in London but visit quite often and travel on the underground. This post is so relatable – Love the last point, Cockfosters. Makes me chuckle too! x

    • Valentin Valentin

      Haha, glad to hear it’s not just me! :p

  2. I’m definitely one of those who, if I can help it, won’t travel during rush hour because it’s just insane! And smelly food, feet and just disgusting bodily odor is just a no, especially in a packed train!

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