Mind the Gap: Using the Tube

Every day I have been in London I have had to use the Tube to get around. This is London’s underground transportation system, and it is different than how I normally get around Pitt (by walking or sometimes taking a bus). The Tube and I have grown to have a love-hate relationship. Three days a week, I have to commute for nearly an hour to my internship, meaning I leave my flat at 8:30 to arrive by 9:30. I have to take two separate Tube lines to get there. These trains normally have people packed in as tight as possible, and the temperature is very hot for some reason. I always avoid wearing a jacket on the Tube because I end up getting much too hot.

Despite its setbacks, the Tube is actually very beneficial. It is the most efficient way to get around the city. With my Oyster card, what you use to enter the Tube, I have unlimited access to the Tube stations in Zones 1 and 2, which is pretty much the majority of London and where I want to go. It is also very easy to use. All you need to do is tap your Oyster card on the reader, enter, and figure out which train you need to take. There are maps all over the place and plenty of people who can assist you if you are lost, something I took advantage of near the beginning of my time in London.

As advice to anyone who plans on studying abroad or even visiting London, the most essential app that you should have downloaded on your phone is Citymapper. This is a navigation app that will tell you multiple different ways of getting somewhere, including times that trains and buses leave. For my commute to work, once I get off at my final Tube station, I take a bus about a mile down the road. Citymapper has helped me by listing which busses are coming and how many minutes I will have to wait for them. It is definitely the best app for getting around London, and the only one you should need despite what other people say.

I am going to miss using the Tube because of its ease, but I definitely will not missed how crowded and hot it is. It will be nice to be able to walk to class in 15 minutes rather than taking multiple trains across town for longer.