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trepidation about using the Underground?

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trepidation about using the Underground?

Everything i read about the Underground system seems to be, "you better be prepared..." crowds beyond belief, not being able to get on or off at your desired station, etc. those of you that have visited San Francisco how does the Underground compare to our system BART. so i can have a reference to know what to expect.

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Dallas, Texas
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1. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

The London underground is far more extensive than BART and Muni put together. It can get pretty darn crowded. You may not always get a seat. You may have to stand. But you shouldn't have troubles getting off. Just make sure you are near the door before your stop if it's really full. If you can't get on a train because it's full, wait a few minutes. They have a very high frequency of trains. Usually, much more so than BART, especially in central London

You'll be fine. It's all pretty orderly and polite.

U.S. expats
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2. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

The London Underground is absolutely unparallelled in terms of ease of use; I have used the BART, New York's Subway, Washington D.C.'s Metro, the Metro in Paris, and even the train system in Japan.

My 10 year old son was able to navigate me across town on his first try, with the free map provided. Signs are everywhere, and color coded. Your present station, and the stations you will travel to are all on the platform. (Something I wish I would see more of in New York and D.C.)

Buying an Oyster or Travelcard make it an easy proposition.

Stop listening to whichever source you have heard. If you plan to drive cattle through the tube during rush hour, yes, you can plan to be unhappy. Otherwise, the world's your oyster.

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3. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

Look at the maps

Follow the signs

Ask the staff questions if you need to

Don't worry if you make a mistake - its easily fixed by doing one of the 3 things above.

Enjoy the experience

Move fast

Don't expect your fellow riders to become your best friends

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4. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

No need to be over dramatic. Yes, the tube can be crowded especially during commute times in central London. But I've never had any issues getting on/off, or separated from people I'm traveling with. You might have to stand elbow to elbow once in awhile, but if it's too much for you to handle just wait for the next train and maybe you'll have better luck. If you try to travel by tube around commute times, it's a lot more comfortable. The bus is a nice alternative as well, and you'll get to see much more of the city while you're traveling.

BART doesn't have nearly the same amount of commuters, so there is no comparison really.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

You will not be the only one puzzled: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUtbpJnpJl0 This will give you a look at some of the platforms and cars as well as a peek inside the control rooms and the substantial CCTV coverage on stations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2TSRnD7SP0

Africandaisy suggested you move fast. To that I would ask that if you need to stop and check something *please* step out of traffic rather than putting on the brakes in the middle of a walkway as that is one way to become unpopular in the blink of an eye.

The Underground works remarkably well for a system that has been in use over 150 years. Do a bit of homework in advance and keep in mind that many forum members have said that transport in London is easier to use than to describe.

Having said that, be prepared for changes to Underground service. Have an idea of alternate transport should there be an engineering problem or planned works, and don't discount buses for short journeys, as it may be faster to travel by road than Underground.

County Dublin...
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6. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

Lots of bus routes up top.

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

My advice is to stop reading whatever tripe you are reading. Yes, the tube can be busy at times (especially the morning and evening peak periods), and there may be standing room only at times. But you won't be squashed like sardines all day every day. Plus you have buses that can get you around many parts as well.

IME the tube is far less crowded than its counterparts in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Bangkok, all of which I use (including with luggage when heading between my hotel and the airports).

I've been on packed BART trains as well.

Edited: 02 April 2014, 02:58
Baton Rouge
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8. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

We rarely found it to be crowded on my previous visit to London, but we were not usually traveling at peak commute times. Usually the worst "crowded" meant was not having a place to sit, but if you wanted a seat, you could usually get one within a stop or two, when some of the people who were seated got up to exit.

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

Sometimes it can get very crowded and you will have to watch out for your stop and start early wriggling your way to the door. I have never been carried past my stop or had one of my companions left behind.

Just like anywhere else, if you or your party has any mobility or communication limitations or is claustrophobic or something then plan around that. If the train is crowded and you're not going far stay close to the door so you don't have to fight your way back.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: trepidation about using the Underground?

oh, my pet peeve -= people that get on the train and stay close to the door and don't move into the carriage to let others in.

If it's packed - just wait for the next train - I used to do that all the time in Singapore during peak hour until I got used to the packed trains. Now in Hong Kong - where they are even worse, I just squeeze my way in