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If there's one thing I hate more than actually going to work in my job in Central London, it's getting there! Why? Because I have to use the Underground and the service is just absolutely awful! I'm work early shifts sometimes, not often but when I do it's a 6.00am start and when I am doing them I know for a fact I'll be having a nightmare week getting up there!
OK where do I start? First of all I'm 19 years old so I am only young but I've used it to get to all three jobs I've been in since I was sixteen. The first job I had was OK as I worked in Barking which is two stops away from me on the district line then my second job I worked a bit further out and then finally I settled down in a full time job up near the Tower Hill area.
I'll just quickly break down what the Underground is all about. It is basically an underground system that serves all of London and is broken down into 12 different lines.
The District Line is represented by a green line on the map and runs between Upminster to Richmond/Ealing Broadway or Wimbledon. Trains apparently run every 6 - 10 minutes on this line.
The Circle Line is represented by yellow on the tube map and runs in a circle (aka why it's called Circle) from stations like Paddington back down to Aldgate. It does not serve one station on its own!
The Hammersmith & City line is represented by pink on the map and runs between Barking/East Ham down to Hammersmith.
The Central Line is represented by red on the tube map and runs between West Ruislip/Ealing Broadway down to Epping/Roding Valley.
The <b>Bakerloo Line</b> is represented by brown on the tube map and runs between Elephant and Castle to Harrow and Wealdstone.
The Northern Line is represented by black on the tube map and runs between Mordon to High Barnet/Edgeware.
The Piccadilly Line is represented by dark blue on the tube map and runs between Cockfosters and Uxbridge/Heathrow Terminals.
The Victoria Line is represented by light blue and runs between Walthamstow Central to Brixton.
The East London Line is represented by orange and is a short line running from Whitechapel to New Cross/New Cross gate.
The ubilee Line is represented by silver on the tube map and runs between Stratford and Stanmore.
The Metropolitan Line is represented by dark red on the tube map and runs between Aldgate to Amersham/Chesham/Watford/Uxbridge.
The Waterloo & City is closed till September 06.
OK I can't speak for all the lines though I listen to the radio a lot and the lines I hear that seem to be frequently having trouble seems to be Hammersmith & City, the District Line and the Northern Line. I use the District line frequently and I can honestly say it does have a lot of trouble. Don't get me wrong, when it's running OK the service can be top notch with trains running every five minutes sometimes but it does have too many problems I think and there have been times, especially on the way home from work around nineish at night I've waited 20 minutes for a train home going back to Upminster and there have actually been no problems… Just no one bothers to tell you whets happening! Most of the time though I DO find its signal failures causing the problems. When these happen it just causes so much chaos sometimes and it's awful when you're stuck in the hot weather and then the train comes to a grinding halt and you're told there is a line of trains in front due to a signal failure somewhere! When there are security alerts as well this seems to cause meltdown on the whole bloomin' system and you can be waiting around for ages! This is actually a good day though for delays! Like I said, sometimes you'll be waiting for the line that supposedly runs every 6 - 10 minutes for over twenty with no information board or announcements! I've also heard a new one recently that trains are not be shunted correctly out of Upminster - How Many ways are there to shunt a train properly? Also when I've had an early start to get the first train from Upminster twice now, I know that's not a lot, but the whole service had been suspended for a good half hour when for people like me I do rely on that first train to get me into work on time! Again though, if you're lucky enough to catch this line on a good day you will be impressed with the service.
OK the Hammersmith & City is also an awful line. Absolutely terrible. I don't think Barking is its main terminal but trains rarely pull off from Barking and you see people waiting around for agggess until a train decides to terminate there and when it does you are just stampeded with people getting off! I think this line has problems nearly every day actually. I've only used it a couple of times as an alternative to get up to Shepherds Bush when the Central Line's playing up as alternative to get near White City (To see QPR! Go on you r's lol) Out of the four or five times I've used it it's had problems.
The actual cleanliness of the trains varies. Go on the District Line and it's disgusting. Lines like the Central are pretty much cleaner but I find the Central line too cramped. The Jubilee line is a nice line, this one hardly has any problems and I like to use this one to go to Bond Street and it rarely has probs! Again it's clean but there aren't enough seats and at peak time it can get manic! They are starting to do up the District Line now and sometimes you'll get on a new one which is a big improvement to the old ones. From my experience coming home from nights out the trains can get filthy at that time of night with beer cans and stuff scattered around but what do you expect lol. Also after the rush hour people always throw there newspapers around! All in all the Central and Northern I hate traveling on. I love going to Camden Market and I use the Northern line on it and I don't get why the trains are so bloomin small when the line is so popular! It's madness! I've never been on it before 9.30am but I bet its chaos! Even when I go in the afternoons it's still pretty packed so I do like to avoid this line.
What can I say about the prices. For me they are a bit pricey considering you are only traveling within London… From zones 1 - 4 it's a three pound single and 1 - 5 or 1 - 6 it is four pounds. All the rest like 3 - 6, 2 - 6, etc are three pound singles as well. So even if you go from, I dunno, Tower Hill to Monument (Next to each other) it still costs 3 pounds. They have got this oyster system now which makes it cheaper but still, when tourists come here they haven't got a clue so I can imagine 3 pounds seems a lot to them and the Underground Staff are a bit useless when it comes to help. These are the current travel card prices for the day.
You can get weekly/monthly/annual fares from this and also oyster fares which you can compare to the travel card paper rates above as well as with the single fares on paper. <a href=http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/fares-tickets/2006/downloads/tfl-fares-2006.pdf#page=14>link here</a>
You CANNOT put one day travel cards onto an oyster card. It "caps" instead so you put an amount on there and it won't charge anymore than what you would pay for a paper travel card. You save a little bit of money when putting it on the oyster I think it's something like 50p. The oyster card can be bought at any tube station, some national rail stations and some small shops and it is a £3 deposit. With the oyster you have to make sure you tap in and out on all of your journeys especially be wary when entering zone 1 as if you forget to do this it charges you a fiver and you can be left with a minus figure on your oyster card if you did not have enough money.
I have personally found it is better when buying monthly or annual tickets to put them on the oyster card as the black strip on tickets fades fast and you have to keep getting them replaced which is a pain in the backside. All Weekly/Monthly/Annual fares are the same price as the paper ticket as what they would be going on the oyster. Make sure when buying these you also keep the record card that a ticket office assistant gives you incase you use your oyster. Also make sure you do not go out of your zones if you have a travel card on your oyster. Say if you have 2 - 6 on there and you enter zone 1, even if you don't have money on there it will charge you, leave you with a negative figure and won't work the barriers till you clear it!
One thing you should not expect if using the Underground, some decant advice! The last time I went was actually with my brother to get the deposit back on his oyster as he was no longer using it and they said they couldn't do it so I asked what station I could do it at the Assistant asks me where I'm heading too and I say Barking the guy tells me I can do it there and when I do get to Barking I actually see the office clerks are not in Underground uniform like the last guy at Tower Hill and they tell me what I thought, it is actually a station owned by someone else! In the end we got it done at another Underground station called Upminster Bridge though there is rarely anyone there. They also seem to sort of stand at the gates with this miserable look on their face and don't even seem to check tickets. God only knows why they are so miserable on their money doing that easy job!
Finally overall having to travel to work on the Underground is absolute nightmare. Between as early as 6 in the morning till about 10 the trains are overcrowded, littered with paper and frustrated people trying to get to work on time. Do not ever go to work thinking you can have a read of your newspaper on the way if you're using the Underground at the Peak as it's just horrific. I find it amazing that people sit there with their daily express wide open while people are squashed around them trying not to fall on their paper and some of these people will just spread it out on to your lap! It can get hot, sticky and tempers definitely do fray in the summer. The worst thing is if there is absolutely nothing to hang on too and every time it stops you nearly go flying every time the train stops or you're standing next to the guy who decided not to wear any deodorant on that 40 Celsius plus day in August!
If you're thinking of looking for work in London my advice is USE THE BUS!
I've only used the Underground a handful of times, and never at Peak time, so I think I've got off lightly hehe. Ten
aestro 24.10.2006 12:02
I think a better review would be AVOID at ALL times! I hate them, its pretty much the same all the time, delays, cramped trains and disgusting conditions. However buses arent much better! x
jesi 20.10.2006 13:55
One thing I remember from my student nursing days in London was the length of the escalators! I once witnessed a lady falling backwards when her shoe fell off (more than 30 years later, I still hate the underground) ! ♥♥ ! ~ ........................................................... ~ jes ~ ! ♥♥ !