It is quite something when you really sit down a bit and give it some serious thought. 150 years of tube service in London make it the oldest running underground in the world. and, may I add, out of all the ones I have so far been on (and here I include the German ones), the most straight forward. I know, some may complain about all those signal failures and improvement works, about the fares and limited working hours, or the lack of room inside the cars during the overcrowded peak hours and not only. I still find it, regardless of all these above mentioned facts, extremely fascinating how someone thought of building such a thing 150 years ago and how this technology wonder copes with around two million commuters per day in Zone 1 alone.
The tube may be old-fashioned when visually compared to, let’s say the one in Bucharest (I know, terribly ironic), but I sort of like it this way. Its vintage looks add even more value to the overall picture of this mystical place filled with stories and history.
Using it is indeed foolishly expensive, it is packed most of the times on the majority of the 11 lines, it does not have a night service (or, at least, not until 2016 it won’t), the signal failures will, sooner or later, bring you to the brink of insanity and the weekend line closures can easily have you stranded on a bus that is stuck in traffic, forcing you to re-think your entire schedule for the day. but, in my opinion, the Underground is a sine qua non piece of this amazing puzzle called London, as without it, this city simply could not breathe.
And by all means, as Mr. Petro Gustavo, Mayor of Bogota, Capital of Columbia, said:
“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”
And the London Underground is indeed of use to all and used by all.
foto credits: http://www.tfl.gov.uk