Mind the Gap

One of my favorite parts about being in London is the exceptionally convenient public transportation. My commute to and from work, though long, is easy to do. Walking from my flat to the nearest underground station takes less than a minute, and I’ve grown comfortable using it to travel around the city. If it’s late and some of the underground lines have stopped running, it’s also very easy to hop on a bus and get to where I’m going, as the busses here are running 24/7. No matter the destination, my CityMapper App tells me which stations I need to be at, as well as when I need to be there. All I have to do is keep track of the stations as they go by (I will admit, I’ve missed my station once or twice due to negligence. Luckily it’s easy to make a 180 at the following station). The ease of travel has definitely incentivized me to see more of the city than I would if transportation was a hassle.
My experience here is far different than traveling around Pitt. Back in the states I am always walking to and from places, almost never stepping foot in a vehicle. Aside from the occasional bus, I walk everywhere in Pittsburgh. Here in London, I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t used public transportation. Whether it’s work, class or a trip to a new neighborhood, I’m going to be hopping on the tube at some point. The one similarity between London and Pitt is the process of pressing a card against a scanner until it blinks green – this lets me know I’m all set to go find a seat. My oyster card sits in a pocket on the back of my phone, above my Pitt ID.
Though trips are generally pleasant, sometimes the tube is packed with other commuters. If this is the case, I slide off my backpack, squeeze into a gap free of bodies and grab a handlebar until either a seat opens up or I reach my destination. This can be a little frustrating, because although I’m a relatively tall guy, I still find myself stuck under a smelly armpit from time to time. I did almost miss my stop once because I was completely surrounded by bodies and had to muscle my way to the exit doors. Another time, I had to let a train leave without me, as the one I attempted to board was too full for me to fit. Other than these instances, I haven’t run into any inconveniences.