The London underground had a certain charm with it’s name and shape of a ‘tube.’ It seems like Londoners have a rather fondness of creating nicknames as much as Koreans enjoy abbreviating to create neologisms. I rather liked the simple yet bold design of the underground logo and how it was used for the station names. I’ve tried quite a few metro systems while traveling in Seoul, New York, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Rome. Out of all of these, the London tube had the most memorable design.
The absence of barrier between the platform and the rails brought back memories of the Seoul metro system back in the day. Currently, most if not all stations in Seoul have a barrier that only opens when the train doors open. Before the barrier, there were accidents where people foolishly climbed down to retrieve a dropped phone or bag only to get hit by an incoming train. There were also problems with suicide attempts in which people jumped into the railway as the train sped into the station. I later found that certain stations in the London underground had this barrier, but most of the stations that I used on the Piccadilly line did not.
The train was surprisingly small with little space for people to stand. Most of the time it felt cozy, but during rush hour it felt a bit inefficient. Not many people were able to fit in with the amount of people already on the train. Sometimes this meant that you had to wait for the next one, or the next one. I was also surprised with the regular use of the elevator. In Korea, the elevator is mainly reserved for the disabled and elderly. On the other hand, escalator use in the Tube was rather similar in that people who wanted to remain standing stayed on the right, while people who wished to walk up the escalator did so on the left.
The London underground also had a lot of interesting things to see and listen to. Apparently the performers, also known as buskers, in the tube station have to go through a competitive audition process to obtain a license! I felt like I saw more buskers in the Tube over three days than I’ve seen during my countless commutes through the Seoul metro system. I also liked how there was a row of musical posters on the wall next to the escalators, but I’m not quite sure if it was just a coincidence that I saw mainly musical posters there. Overall, I enjoyed using the tube while traveling in London, and liked it a great deal more than the metro systems of Paris and Rome.