The London Underground – get to grips with it.
The London Underground is a daunting prospect for most of us, especially if you're like me and have been on a total of three train rides in your life and only ever caught the bus to school and back. For me, the underground was a completely alien concept because where I come from there's just nothing like it. So here's a little advice to help you out with tackling it - I can only tell you so much though, you're guaranteed to get it wrong at some point but that's ultimately how you learn it.
The first thing to do is to get an Oyster card;
https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do you'll use this to tag in and tag out on the yellow card reader that each barrier hosts as you enter and exit stations - ie; the barriers will be closed and will open when you scan your Oyster card on the reader. Sometimes the barriers will all be open but be sure to still tag in and out rather than just walking through otherwise you'll get charged the maximum fare. While you're online registering for your oyster card, set it up as a direct debit from your bank account. It will then automatically top itself up when it hits under £10.00 which saves a lot of hassle. Next thing is to pick up a tube map, they're available at every underground station and study it. It's simple enough, each line is in a different colour and from there you just need to work out three things;
1- Which line the station that you want is on.
At first, like most of us first timers you'll only remember the colours. But with time you'll get to know the lines better and will start to associate them by name rather than colour, to begin with though just stick with "right, I need to get on the red line" rather than getting confused by the names.
2 - Which direction are you going in. East or west?
So you've worked out that you need to get on the red line, but which direction are you going? every station will have multiple signs pointing you in the right direction so just check the signs for the stop that you want and follow them.
3 - The destination of the particular train that you're boarding.
You could be on the right platform going in the right direction, but there's often multiple trains on the same line all going in the same direction! however they'll each have a different final destination. every train will say on the front of it and usually on the side of it, where its final stop will be. So once you know which stop you need and on what line, check where that line eventually ends and make sure the train you're on has that on the front/side of it. Easy!
I can really only tell you so much, the underground is something you master with experience.
The only other insights that I can give you into the world of the London Underground are these;
- Prepare yourself for the solemn and silent journey, no one makes eye contact on the tube!
- It's polite to offer your seat to the elderly, pregnant women and small children - don't be a d**k!.
- In the same breath, stand to the side of the doors to let people off the train before you get on it. It's so annoying when people just stand there right in the bloody way!
- Stand on the right when going up and down the escalators, people get super pissed off if you stand on the left, reason being that you're then directly in the way of those who are hurrying up the escalator stairs.