Get us in your inbox


Seven things you must never do on the tube

Written by
Samantha Baines

The London Underground is a confusing maze of etiquette, over-crowding and body odour. With the night tube (eventually) on its way, you wouldn't be judged for thinking a life on the London tube network is pretty complicated. Above all else, remember to never, ever do the following...

1. Pluck your eyebrows

Source: GIPHY 

People really freak out. Even if it's just a couple of maintenance plucks before a special event. Yeesh. 

2. Sit in a priority seat

Source: Samantha Baines on Youtube

The guilt will paralyse you. You can't get involved with your Kindle or latest app obsession because you have to keep looking at who gets on the tube, just in case there is a pregnant or elderly passenger who needs your seat. If you don't spot said priority passenger, everyone on the tube will single you out as an evil individual and a self-appointed spokesperson might even step in and shame you in front of the whole carriage. It is better to avoid all of the drama and stand. 

3. Think

Source:  GIPHY

When American philosopher and political scientist Hannah Arendt said 'there are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous', she was talking about the tube (probably). It's most definitely not a place for thinking, the main reason being: where do you look? When you think, you go off into your little brain world and start skipping around opinions and ideas, but your eyes stay open. To anyone around you, you seem to be staring intently at a fixed point. On the tube there are generally a lot of people who own a lot of body parts and if you stare randomly for long enough your gaze will, 80 percent of the time, fall on at least one of them. Do you see the problem here? 

4. Press the 'open door' button

Source:  GIPHY 

Don't do it! You don't need to, the doors always open on their own accord, that's just what happens on a London tube. If you press the button the whole tube carriage will know you are not a tube regular, which is a fate worse than being tagged in an awful photo on Facebook. Yes, you will probably never see most people in that carriage again but for those few painful door opening moments, to that carriage full of commuters, you will be the lowest of the low.

5. Read your own newspaper 

Read newspaper

photo credit: Critical Reading via photopin (license)

If you are forced to stand so close to other London commuters then why not enjoy the benefits that this uncomfortable proximity brings? Why read your own free newspaper when you can read a selection of the material on offer around you? Dip into the suited man's Metro, then sneak a peak at that young woman's Stylist and settle on the pregnant woman's copy of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' (she's sitting in the priority seat so you can lean on the glass divider for comfort). If you are really subtle about it, you can even start filling in someone else's sudoku.

 6. Take a tube selfie (even if you have a cute dog)

photo credit: 1720 via photopin (license)

The selfie is slowly becoming despised by Londoners as visitors to the capital try to take selfies with any and all London-related memorabilia. Taking a selfie on the tube is like taking a picture in someone else's coffin: you are too close to another body and there is too much body odour already to start moving around to get a good shot. In addition, tube passengers hate to think you might be taking secret photos of them, so any selfie-type actions will be met with suspicion and hostility.

7. Give up your seat for Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

photo credit: Priority via photopin (license)

He may have a walking stick in 'House' but not in real life so he can wait his turn like the rest of us.

Still not clear? Here are 20 more things you need to know to be a good commuter

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news