Ah, The Tube. A wonder of British transportation, and of unbelievably polite ways of saying things that will ruin your commute. When a TfL (Transport for London) conductor comes on the loudspeaker to say, “We’re terribly sorry, but we are being held in station due to an earlier incident.” They don’t elaborate, obviously, that that earlier incident could’ve been, horrendously, a body under a train or it could’ve just as easily been a kid who puked on the floor of the train before yours. Occasionally they say the cause is a “sick passenger”, which I feel is liberally employed purely to activate British guilt. Moments before, you were cursing whichever rookie commuter had held open the doors too long or dropped his phone down the tracks, forcing you to miss your coffee stop on the way into the office. But with the declaration of a “sick passenger”, that rookie has morphed, in your head, into a sickly old lady who can’t help that trains make her queasy. So you stand there and you shut up, just as TfL intended.
In order to keep their people in line as to what’s Britishly (I just coined a word, go with it) acceptable and what is not, TfL posts these frankly adorable poems all over the Tube and buses. The poems are so polite already, it’s any wonder they get the point across, though I suppose they are tailored for their British audience to quietly absorb. This ensures that no single person has to bear the burden of calling out another for rule-breaking. The poems are illustrative of exactly some of the problems that I and many other riders experience daily.
Like all other major metropolitan transportation systems, the Tube also has to deal with that incomprehensible breed of commuters who cannot wait for people to get off the train before they shove their way on. It is beyond perplexing that these subway outlaws cannot see the massive inefficiency of their method, let alone how rude it is (though I’d honestly prefer it if they just saw how flawed the patterns of movement and space are when they shove on). Contrary to the poster urging me to pity these people, I do not. As a London commuter you have two responsibilities, which are: 1) don’t be an asshole, and 2) learn how to wield an umbrella in a crowded space. It’s not asking much. Some rogue poets that didn’t get the official TfL seal of approval, for obvious reasons, adequately sum up my feelings on Tube etiquette: