This post inadvertently follows on from Kait waxing lyrical about her love of the Tube yesterday. As the token Brit, she asked me my opinion on London’s famous transport network. My own vehemence surprised me. The summer is gross, hot and sweaty and as part of my daily commute for a while, I can’t say I enjoyed it. A 10 minute journey can take hours with a signal failure. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. BUT, I also have fond memories of this little underground bullet. I could stay at my friend Leanne’s house in Brixton, and get to work at Warren Street in 15 minutes on the Victoria line. That is pretty much south to north in no time at all. The Jubilee line linked me at Stratford to my best friends’ at Mile End and Canada Water (ironic, no?)
I did have a few little tools to make my life on the tube easier though. There is one app I could not get enough of and still actively get excited using (possibly a little sad, I know). It takes some persuasion for people to really get on board with it but once they start using it… well you just don’t go back. I appreciate this post will be limited in its applicability but whether you are living in London, hope to live there or planning a visit, I can’t recommend it enough.
So what app am I talking about? It’s a simple concept and called ‘Tube Exits.’ For the lofty sum of 79p or CAD$1.19 (and I must admit, I think I’ve paid for apps all of three times so the fact I paid at all says something), you can have wizardry at your fingertips which allows you to input your tube departure and destination, choose the quickest or shortest route (depending on if you want to avoid steps or long platform changeovers etc) and you will be told exactly which carriage to board so that you line up with you exit. Now this seems so overly simple that it’s almost not worth doing. I understand how it sounds but MY GOD, it’s the best thing ever. I can’t tell you the number of times I’d almost missed the last train home. I sprinted to the nearest tube and jumped on any carriage before the beep beep beep of the door shutting. I’d whip out my phone (no need for the internet here which is crucial for an underground tube app) and input my destination. I’d soon realise thatI needed to be at the opposite end of the train if I wanted to save precious minutes and run across to the overground train. Every time the tube stopped, I’d jump out of my carriage and work my way along to the next one. I probably looked crazy but it was also the early hours of the morning. Not many people were sober anyway. For me, this scenario probably happened 5 times the entire time I used it – well worth the money if it meant I got home! But a lot of the times, it wasn’t ‘life or death’ sprint to the overground, it was just really nice to be all lined up and efficient with the exit. Often, I’d be standing waiting for my train home after work – why not figure out which carriage I should be on? London rush hour(s) are gross, sweaty, cramped and dirty. I get real, irrational frustration with slow walkers and people that stop randomly RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Any opportunity to limit this gets a thumbs up in my book.
As an aside, the app itself is also handy for generally planning my routes too – as mentioned, it gives you various options, timings and useful information about each, including wheelchair access, the number of stairs between platforms, and any closures. It has real-time updates which is pretty integral as every weekend there is some sort of closure or catastrophe.
So, guys, I’m sure you are dubious about how awesome this app can be but honestly, don’t knock it until you try it. It’s smart, cheap and actually useful. It’s the little things in life!
Tube Exits is available on iphone , ipod touch and other platforms. More information can be found on tubeexits.co.uk. I am not at all affiliated with the company at all– just a fan!