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Let’s Restore Tube Etiquette

Enduring the rush-hour commute is an uncelebrated achievement which the modern professional should be proud of. It involves power walking to the platform, wrestling your way into the train, positioning your body successfully to ensure the most efficient use of space and surviving on a limited supply of oxygen. If an alien were to visit our humble planet and somehow find herself in the middle of e.g. Oxford Circus on a Monday morning, she would marvel at the complex choreography our species has put together to ensure that everyone gets to work on time.

The problem with public transport is that no one actually wants to be there. It’s just a means to an end and many of us reach the office already exhausted by the commute. Invariably, it’s not the ride itself that we find impossible, it’s the attitude of some of our fellow passengers who seem determined to go to extreme lengths to make everyone as uncomfortable as possible. And it’s only getting worse.

This is why we propose a revolution to restore tube etiquette and, in fact, most of the tips below also apply to buses, trains and all other vehicles carrying large numbers of irritable, busy people. Some manners, and a 3 piece suit by Aristocracy London, will take us all further than the Piccadilly line ever will.

Public transport manners for the modern gentleman

1. Don’t block the barriers or the escalators or anything really
Unless you are actively trying to cause a stampede, you shouldn’t stand in other people’s way. If your oyster card isn’t working, stop tapping it like a maniac and get out of the way. If you don’t know where you’re going and want to take a minute to reflect on life, get out of the way. If you want to enjoy the posters along the escalators, stand on the right and get out of the way for those who prefer to hurry along. Basically, keep moving or get out of the way.

2. There’s (almost) always another train coming
Apparently, the first lifeboats left the Titanic half-empty until it became apparent that the majestic ocean liner would indeed sink and everyone scrambled to get on one. Your 7:53 to Paddington is not the last lifeboat to leave the doomed Titanic. Let other passengers off the train first and don’t shove people out of the way to get on. Also, avoid using your body as a wedge to keep doors from shutting. Not only is it dangerous but it may result in random strangers pulling your limbs to release you. Ridiculous.

3. Offer your seat
Always offer your seat to elderly, disabled and pregnant passengers, as well as those with an “Offer me a seat” badge. In their absence, and at your discretion, you may choose to offer your seat to any other passenger who is struggling. If you are standing and a seat becomes available, check out for passengers in need and, if no one is in sight, offer it to any ladies that are standing next to you. If they decline, feel free to take it.

4. Don’t stand in front of the door
It’s fascinating how people huddle together in front of the doors when there is clearly room down the aisle. It could be part of a conspiracy to not let anyone else on the train. Or maybe they’re bracing against the cold. We’ll never know because we never managed to get on the train because said people were blocking the doors.

5. The dilemma of personal space
Avoid stretching, resting your bags on seats when there are standing passengers, spreading your newspaper and generally using more space than you need. Regarding luggage, there is no easy way out: always take off your backpack and, if you are carrying a large suitcase, stay in the wider area of the bus or carriage and only sit if there is space nearby. At busy times, you may be the unfortunate recipient of death stares and the only way out is to apologise. A lot. To everyone.

6. Mind the gap and your kids
Every gentleman knows that his kids are primarily his responsibility. Teach them to be considerate towards other passengers and mindful of safety, so no running up and down or using the handrails for gymnastics. On the thorny subject of sitting, most etiquette experts agree that adults are to give up their seat only when the child is very young and struggling to stand. Able-bodied children who can hold on to the handrails should always politely decline, when offered a seat.

7. Sssshhhh, quiet please
Rave music at 8am may be your idea of meditation but you can’t force it on other people. Keep the volume down both to protect your hearing and the fragile mental state of your fellow passengers. The same applies to conversations or phone calls. While we are at it, it’s not just the volume that you need to keep in check but also the content of your exchanges. We don’t want a detailed description of your sex life. Or maybe we do, please go ahead but talk slowly so we have time to type for our social media followers.

8. Get a room
On public transport, people often find themselves in very close proximity to complete strangers. Imagine their horror when the aforementioned strangers fail to grasp the concept of “public” and proceed with activities that are best confined to a more private space. From trimming beards to passionately engaging in foreplay, we have seen it all and we’d rather not see it again.

9. Hungry are we?
Life in the city can be overwhelming and sometimes you simply neglect to eat. So you start munching on the train which we can endure despite the fact that, scientifically speaking, it will take way longer than a short bus ride to die of starvation. However, eating in confined spaces that are not particularly well ventilated requires some consideration for others and some care to prevent staining your Aristocracy London suit. Avoid smelly food, eat your 5-a-day and ALWAYS take your trash with you. And if that stain does happen, read our blog on how to keep your suits fresh.

10. Netflix and breakdown
Are you one of those people who think it is acceptable to get off the train and leisurely make your way to the exit while reading a book, watching a movie or messaging incessantly? We are amongst those other people who frantically try to find a way to overtake you. Trust me, it’s not the word intellectual that comes to mind when we see you reading a novel instead of watching where you’re going.

I’m sure you’ll agree with us that most of the above tips should be common sense but, as the saying goes, “common sense is not very common”. Being a gentleman of style and essence is not just about wearing the right clothes or being seen in the right places. A modern gentleman is defined by the manners he develops and the choices he makes in life. In Aristocracy London, we believe that the traits one chooses to acquire are more important than any hereditary privilege and this is reflected in our values.