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English School in London | Bloomsbury International

Why are we miserable on the central line?

It’s 8am on a busy weekday morning. After a balmy Easter weekend, we’re greeted with icy rain and clouds. John leaves his house, forgets his umbrella and stands on the Shepherd’s Bush platform soaked in rain. His train is due in 3 mins but he has now been waiting an unbelievable 4 mins. People begin to fill up the platform and John tuts in annoyance. The train finally arrives after 5 agonising minutes and it is full to the brim. John stands aside to let the passengers in the carriage off the train. As he attempts to board, a small woman slides past him and tucks herself neatly beside the door.

Mind the closing doors-BOOM! The train doors close abruptly.

‘The next train to Newbury via Hainault will arrive in 8 minutes’

John stamps his foot and swears (quietly).

‘Due to a signal failure at Victoria, there is no service on the central line’

‘VICTORIA ISN’T EVEN ON THE CENTRAL LINE!’ screams John as he throws his oyster card and exits Shepherd’s Bush station. John decides not to attend work the following day.

John’s journey is an example of how frustrating the tube can be. A small issue on one side of the network can affect the entire line in a matter of minutes, causing confusion and delays. But why are commuters so miserable on the tube? Why do they stare at their phones and ignore people wearing  ‘please offer me a seat’ badges? As a London native, I’m going to give you 3 reasons why Londoners are so miserable on the tube.

  • Delays and planned engineering works

As you may have seen, there’s always some sort of delay on the tube. People pay quite a lot for transport so it can be incredibly annoying to use a service which is unreliable and always crashing. Delays are frequent and people don’t appreciate being late for work in this fast paced city. Another issue is the constant planned engineering works. Weekends and bank holidays are filled with lots of line closures so the traffic is usually unbearable. Would you be happy to pay hundreds of pounds for a service which was inadequate?

  • Awkwardness

Brits may be polite but they try to avoid awkward situations. If you strike up a conversation at bank and you both stay on the train until Bond street, it would be quite difficult to find topics to talk about. There’s nothing more awkward than silence for a Brit, so they may try to keep quiet and only speak when necessary to avoid any lengthy or awkward conversations.

  • Smartphones

Yes I know, we all use our phones on a daily basis but with the introduction of wifi at many stations, we can now interact with our friends every hour, minute and second of the day. We can catch up on some work and finish off work assignments, send emails and even read books. In a city like London, you have to be on top of everything and the chances are people using their smartphones are catching up on some much needed work or admin.


Next time you’re on the tube, smile or offer someone a seat. It may be the start to the day they need.

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