London Life

Summer tube etiquette…

I travelled into the West End by Tube yesterday evening (just before the torrential downpour of rain began, so it was a lovely surprise when I finally exited at Piccadilly Circus – I got soaked, naturally) and was offended by the stink off my fellow passengers even more than usual.

Seriously – it’s 2009 and we live in a developed country. There is absolutely no excuse for you to smell so bad. I don’t mean sweat. Sweat is inevitable when you’re underground in a rapidly moving train without any air conditioning.


I’m referring to the “I haven’t washed in several days” stench associated with the “Optional daily underwear change” brigade. Rank. Foul. And inexcusable.

Luckily, I was travelling against the flow of rush-hour, so I wasn’t squeezed up against any strangers. Still, I could smell the girl sitting two seats away, especially when she got up and walked past me. All I could think was: can’t she smell herself? Doesn’t she have any friends who might have a word with her?

It reminded me how glad I am I don’t have a daily commute anymore – I think I’d go crazy if I was cooped up inside a tube carriage with stinky people every morning and evening.

Just as I was getting over the stink on the train and trying to get out of Piccadilly Circus station, I encountered my other favourite public transport annoyance – the people (and not all tourists, by the way) who walk right up to the ticket barrier and only then start looking for their ticket. It’s like it’s the first time they’ve ever been on any form of public transport and they’re genuinely shocked that they need to produce their ticket to leave the station. They actually look like they weren’t expecting it.

People! Wash yourselves and your clothes. And always remember where your tube ticket is. Then we’ll get along just fine.

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