Tube Ticket Etiquette...Or The Lack Of It.


As an honorary resident of Old London Town it is sometimes customary, if not expected, that one should travel towards the centre of the city to engage in some such social activity or other. Usually, for me at least, this involves the consumption of large quantities of intoxicating liquid that effects my ability to make reasonable and articulate decisions. Fortunately there appears to be some small section of my often abused brain that is able to extricate itself from the inebriation and managed to steer the rest of me homeward despite the obstacles that London Transport insist upon erecting in my way. 

However, this guardian of my safety often become a little irate when it is faced by the stupidity and general 'wallyness' of weekend commuters just popping into town for a bit of shopping. 

I have never been in the Boy Scouts, or the Cubs and if I had wanted to join the Girl Guides I dare say a few eyebrows might have been raised, but although I have never felt the temptation to join any of these institutions I have always admired there level of preparedness that they seem to install into their members. No matter what the situation these young boys and girls have the seemly innate ability to cope with and overcome the challenge.

I myself often try to aspire to such a lofty goal. On the many occasions I have found a challenging situation I have often struggled with the best way to overcome the obstacle and hopefully identify a better method for dealing with it should it arise again in the future.

With that in mind I have developed, over many years, the most simplest and quickest way of dealing with my London Underground travel. This is something that I feel most regular London commuters have developed over time, mainly due to the fact that one wishes to spend the least amount of time possible hundreds of feet below this sprawling metropolis. 

My own personal routine is to have my Oyster Card (that's our Travel Card here in London) at the ready as soon as I get off the train. It's there, in my hand, gripped and ready for use. As I weave my way up the platform it's there. As I ride the escalator from the earths bowels it's there. As I cross the concourse to the barriers it's there….Oh wait. Someone in front of me as decided, with just a few hundred people behind them, that 'now' is the perfect time to open their bag, search around inside, comment that they can't find their ticket, locate their ticket, work out what way it's meant to go in, what way it's meant to go up, push their ticket into the barrier, walk through the barrier, forget to collect their ticket, come back for their barrier, collect their ticket, walk through the barrier again, not clear the barrier but stop to put their ticket back into their bag and then finally move on. 

So, as you can see, my years of training and honing my ticket skill have been totally worth it.