Trotting leisurely through the tube station on a weekday afternoon at 3pm used to be fab – the perfect time between lunch and rush hour when the station was so quiet you could run up and down the escalators like a five year-old or swing your shopping bags around your head, if you wanted to. But if you've found yourself feeling as though the tube is always busy these days, it's not just a coincidence.
There are more people than ever taking the tube and recent figures have revealed that Oxford Circus station has closed 113 times this year due to severe overcrowding. That's more than twice per week.
With Christmas well and truly in swing, it's only going to get busier, with more shopping bags, more suitcases and London's favourite: confused, dawdling tourists.
So there's a strong possibility you'll soon be complaining about one of these annoying things that happen on the Underground all too often:
1. When you’re wearing your fave peep toe sandals and someone won’t stop staring at your naked toes.
2. When someone gets their manky naked feet out on the tube.
3. When someone with a suitcase bigger than their house tries to squeeze it through the small ticket barrier and gets stuck.
4. When someone has their bag blocking the left hand side of the escalator.
5. When you politely ask them to move their bag and they say: 'Where am I supposed to put it?'
6. Spending £20 in one day because you forgot to tap out on your way home.
7. When walking from one platform to the other takes as long as walking down Oxford Street during rush hour.
8. When someone standing up is blocking an empty seat.
9. When someone has their bag on an empty seat and doesn’t offer to move it for the people standing up.
10. When someone sings/talks/complains to themselves out loud.
11. When someone is glaring at you and doesn’t break the stare even when you look back at them, like, seven times.
12. When someone has four suitcases, two rucksacks, a dog and a fold-away bike and you can’t even get yourself on.
13. When you're well and truly in someone's armpit and another passenger boards the tube, shouting: 'Can we all move in please, can we all move in?'.
14. When you get to a stop that doesn’t have wifi. We're looking at you, Moorgate.
15. The panic when it’s 8.55am and five trains have come through and you still can’t get on one.
16. When there’s congestion at the ticket barriers because someone is taking a photo of the ‘thought of the day’.
17. Dawdling in the station/on the platform/on the tube/on the escalator. Dawdling in general, really.
18. When you make the mistake of standing next to the open window and leave the tube with hair stuck to your face and a barnet like Medusa.
19. People who are too happy during rush hour.
Here are five ways to win at rush hour.
Even better: five top tips for getting a seat on the tube.