“Please Mind the Gap”

One of London’s most (in)famous attractions is the Underground. During my first few weeks here, commuting via the tube everyday was an exciting experience. Though I’ve ridden several subway systems before, I had never had the chance to ride one as part of my daily routine.

My favorite part about the tube is how quiet the cars are, no matter how crowded. It gives everyone an opportunity to read the (free) newspaper—another cool perk—or reflect on the day ahead of/behind them. The quiet definitely makes traveling through rush-hour much less frustrating

My flat is conveniently located across the street from Goldhawk Road Station, so to get to the CAPA Center I simply cross the road and take the westbound Hammersmith & City or Circle line to Hammersmith Station, then change and take the eastbound Piccadilly or District lines to Gloucester Road Station. CAPA is about a seven-minute walk away.

I’m interning at a company called Sunnylife, which is located in the Fitzrovia section of London, off of the famous retail area of Oxford Street. To get there, I walk about eight minutes to Shepherd’s Bush Station and take the Central line directly to Oxford Circus Station, which is near Fitzrovia. Sunnylife’s office is about a ten-minute walk away.

Early on, I remember remarking to one of my coworkers at my internship that I enjoyed riding the tube. “That’ll change,” they said. They may have been correct.

While the tube is very easy to navigate and actually quite pleasant during off-peak hours, rush-hour can be horrifically crowded, and delays seem to be more frequent. I would advise anyone using the tube for the first time to always plan ahead, know where you’re going, and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to arrive early; you’ll thank me after you ride the Central line for the first time.

IMG_6812
My first tube ride
IMG_6813
My second tube ride

I have ridden the famous double-decker buses a handful of times, though it is not a necessity to get where I’m going on a daily basis. I find it enjoyable to sit on the upper deck and see some of the city, which is much more attractive than its hollowed-out underground.

Overall, I think my experience with the London transportation system has been a positive one. It can be frustrating dealing with rush-hour delays or overcrowded trains, but that comes with commuting in any major city in the world. If nothing else, the trains here seem much cleaner than the ones you can find in New York or Philadelphia. That has to count for something.