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Let’s Restore Tube Etiquette

Surviving the rush hour is an achievement we should all be proud of. It involves power walking to the platform, wrestling your way into the train, making efficient use of whatever little space you can find and surviving on a limited supply of oxygen. The problem with public transport is that no one actually wants to be there, it’s just a means to an end.

Unfortunately, some fellow passengers are determined to make the experience as uncomfortable as possible. This is why we propose a revolution to restore tube etiquette starting with this short guide. After all, manners will take us all further than the Piccadilly line ever will.

Public transport manners for the modern gentleman

1. Don’t block anything
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, get out of the way. Basically, unless you’re trying to cause a stampede, keep moving.

2. There’s (almost) always another train
Your 7:53 to Paddington isn’t the last lifeboat leaving the doomed Titanic. Let other passengers off the train first and avoid using your body as a wedge to keep doors from shutting. It’s dangerous and it may result in random strangers pulling your limbs to release you.

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’s struggling.

4. Don’t stand in front of the door
It’s fascinating how people huddle together in front of the doors when there’s 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.

5. The dilemma of personal space
Avoid resting your bags on seats when there are standing passengers, spreading your newspaper and generally using more space than you need. If you’re carrying luggage, stay in the wider area of the bus or carriage and only sit if there’s space nearby.

6. Mind the gap and your kids
Teach children 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 should only give up their seat when the child is very young and struggling to stand.

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.

8. Get a room
On public transport, we often find ourselves in close proximity to complete strangers who seem to forget they have an audience. From trimming beards to clipping nails to engaging in foreplay, we’ve seen it all and we’d rather not see it again.

9. Hungry are we?
Public transport is a confined space that isn’t well ventilated so avoid eating, if you can. After all, it’ll take longer than a bus ride for you to die of starvation. If you need to grab a bite, however, try to avoid smelly food and ALWAYS take your trash with you.

10. Netflix and breakdown
Getting off the train and leisurely making your way to the exit while reading a book, watching a movie or messaging incessantly is rude. Think about the unfortunate people who’re frantically trying to find a way to overtake you.

Being a gentleman isn’t just about wearing the right clothes or being seen in the right places. A gentleman is defined by his manners, even in simple repetitive tasks such as taking the tube. For more style and etiquette tips, delivered straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter.