7 Tube Etiquette Rules For Tourists

7 rules to follow when riding the London tube system

As someone who has has lived in London my entire life, I've had my fair share of experiences navigating the tube system, from the weird to the wonderful. Certain etiquette though is needed when riding the tube, and some things when not adhered to is outright annoying. Follow these rules please when visiting London.

Rule #1: You Can Move Down The Carriage, You Know?

The issue of overcrowding in the tube is a common occurrence in London. With a large population and a bustling city, it's no surprise that the tube is packed during peak hours, especially the Central line. However, one of the most important rules of tube etiquette is to move down the carriage to allow more people in. It's very frustrating when people stand in the doorway, preventing others from getting on the train. 

Peak hour is when this rule becomes especially crucial. During these busy times, every inch of space counts,so by moving down the carriage, you are helping to maximize the capacity of the train. 

Rule #2: Don't Be A Dick - Offer Your Seat To Those In Need

Now this should be common sense, but unfortunately a lot of people don't have any common sense. The amount of times I see pregnant ladies in particular having to stand because no-one offers a seat is amazing. Seats are like gold dust at peak hours on the tube, but don't be a dick.

Sometimes it is actually better to stand anyway with a little more space to breathe. Nothing worse than sitting next to someone munching away on smelly food. Which brings me onto...

Rule #3: Don't Bloody Eat On The Tube

Thee tube is a shared space with limited seating and standing room. Eating on the tube not only can result in crumbs and spills, making the environment messy and unhygienic for other passengers, but the combination of different food smells can be quite unpleasant and may cause discomfort to those with sensitivities or allergies. 

Try and be considerate of others and avoid subjecting them to strong food odors during their commute. And by others, I obviously mean me.

Rule #4: Allow People To Get Off Before Getting On

This one is a big bug bearer of mine. This again may seem like common sense, but it's surprising how often this rule is ignored. Tourists, in particular, can be oblivious to this rule, especially during peak hours when the platforms are crowded.

By allowing people to get off first, you are not only being considerate, but you are also helping to maintain a smoother flow of traffic. This simple act can prevent unnecessary congestion and delays.

It's also worth mentioning that this rule aligns with our queuing culture. In Britain, we value orderly queues, it's what we do.

If you're a tourist coming to London, have a read of some of my other helpful tips/guides.

Take a visit to some of London's best secret pubs
Save money by visiting some of London's best frugal attractions
If you have money to burn, you could stay in one of these luxury hotels
Make sure you shop in the very best shopping areas
What you need to know if you're coming to London all on your own

Rule #5: Stupid Backpacks

When riding the tube, try and be considerate of the space and the people around you. Backpacks can be a source of inconvenience in crowded trains, especially during peak hours. Please use some common sense and take off your backpack and hold it down low.

Nothing more annoying then trying to get to the door and 3 people standing in front of you with massive hiking backpacks with the kitchen sink inside. Yes, it is frustrating.

Rule #6: Stand On The Right Side Of The Escalator

The left side is reserved for those who are in a hurry and want to walk up the escalator. Blocking the escalator by standing on the left is a no-no and will cause frustration and inconvenience for fellow commuters. Especially when I am late for work and haven't had my coffee. You have been warned.

Rule #7: Avoid Eye Contact and Random Conversations

This rule is particularly important during peak hours. We commuters generally do not want to talk to people after a long day at work, we don't do small talk when all we want to do is go home. Sure, ask for help if needed, but don't strike up a conversation with someone, they won't care.

Let people keep themselves to themselves and immersed in there phones or books or whatever they are doing and respect personal space and privacy.

People who travel on the tube a lot know what I am talking about.

Post a Comment
2 Comments
Fiona said…
Great advice, I visit London a few times a year & totally agree. Especially the moving down the carriage! Fab tips here.
Fadima Mooneira said…
Interesting post! I traveled to London seven times already. But have not heard of these etiquette. Point no.7 is the coolest for me. Nobody wants to talk to anyone when their tired. Hehehe.

Ad Code