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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tube Travel makes us aggressive

A new report from the London Assembly "Too Close for Comfort" has revealed what many Londoners already know. Overcrowding on the London Underground gives us a "dog-eat-dog" attitude where we turn into "a different animal" in a fight for seats or space on a train.

Sardines on North London Train from the London Paper

The report shows there is severe overcrowding on the Tube, with 80% of commuters saying they experience overcrowding which causes discomfort and over half saying they can't get on their first train in the morning. The worst lines for overcrowding are the Central and Northern Lines. At peak hours you'll often find four travellers into a square metre of carriage space.

The report says that people are "going after a seat regardless of who else might want it, ignoring pregnant women and people carrying babies".

People mentally prepare for their journey on auto pilot and psyche themselves up for a packed journey as though they're going into battle, rather than simply travelling into work.

Caroline Pigeon of the London Assembly spoke to The Guardian and said that the report offers suggestions as to how the situation can be improved. In an audio interview she also points to Madrid metro and how they tackle the works of improvements to increase capacity on trains. "If Madrid can upgrade their system without any closures then London Underground ought to be able to do the same". she says. "Too Close for Comfort" criticised the "chaotic" upgrade of the Jubilee Line extension, which has meant that sections of the line being closed for whole weekends several times in the last few months.

The report also calls for a "traffic-light" system in ticket halls so people can judge exactly how packed the trains will be.

What more do you think can be done to ease overcrowding? Is your journey to work overcrowded? What are your strategies to avoid packed trains? Do you travel in later? Walk more or try to use music to put your head in another place?


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