Talkin' Transit

Talkin’ Transit: London Edition

All Aboard
‘All Aboard’
courtesy of Samer Farha

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson

I recently spent a week working in London, and got to experience, again, London’s remarkable, ridiculous, insane, and fantastic transportation system first hand. Did I say “again?” Yes, this is probably the umpteenth time I’ve worked in London for a short stint, and the umpteenth time I’ve been exposed to the system of busses, subways, and insanity that is the Transport for London (TfL). I’ve been there for strikes and breakdowns, and I’ve been there in the heat and cold. I prefer it when things are running well and in the cold.

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive article on the differences between Metro and the TfL. It’s more about what I see as obvious similarities and differences, and where one might have done a better job.

I’ll start with station architecture: Metro has this one down cold. Huge, cavernous stations with reasonably well marked platforms. The only time you feel claustrophobic in a Metro station is when the system breaks down during rush hour. The Tube is a little different. The system gets its name from the tube-like tunnels, which extend their presence into the stations. But each platform is its own tube, and the platforms get very crowded no matter the time of day. It feels much more closed in, and you will get jostled.
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