Transport for London will tell you it’s all about having a valid ticket and keeping to the right. But anyone who fights their way through the underground jungle every day knows these are the real rules of the tube.
1. You’re the Undisputed Master of the Underground if you can slap your Oyster down and pass through the barriers without breaking your stride.
2. ...but anyone who waits for the barrier to close before using their Oyster deserves a tut and a shake of the head.
3. You can offer to help a man with his bags only if he’s very old, or carrying in excess of 3 bags and visibly close to fainting.
4. You can offer to help a woman with her bags at any sign of struggle. C’mon, where are your manners?
5. Tall people hold onto the top handrails, shorter people the ones in the middle.
6. The oblivious man stood halfway down the carriage reading his paper as the middle fills up is an enemy to us all.
7. Getting on a busy tube with a large backpack feels exactly the same as sneezing in public during the Black Plague.
8. You can share a look with a stranger only when the tube is excessively delayed or when the announcements are accidently broadcast too loudly.
9. A discreet sandwich or packet of crisps is fine, but anyone eating anything hot or smelly is an enemy to us all.
10. You can strike up a conversation with a stranger only after 9pm and only when one or both of you is drunk.
11. Any wait over 3 minutes for the next train is an absolute outrage.
12. It is easy to underestimate the speed of the lurch when you exit a station. Particularly if you’re a tourist.
13. There’s no feeling of righteous vindication like your Oyster working on the third attempt.
14. People who lean their whole body against the standing rail, forcing you to ‘surf’ home are an enemy to us all.
15. Offering your seat to an older passenger is either an act of politeness or grievous offence. And there’s no way of knowing for sure which one it’ll be.
16. 'Baby on Board' badges were invented for a reason. To stop you accidentally calling anyone fat.