I have been using Google maps or TFL to plan my adventures around London. Google maps is good, except it does not really take into account the fickle nature of the London Underground (the current fashion is to close parts of the Ginger Line every weekend). You would expect TFL to be better, but while it does take into account line closures, it seems to always forget about buses.
Enter sage left the new app Citymapper. It will provide you with a range of options for how to get to your destination, mixing buses and tubes with ease. It will also give you a jet pack option, although given how long it will take for jet packs to make it to the commercial market this might be a long commute.
I love that it also has the additional features of ‘get me to home’ and ‘get me to work’, so that no matter how London dizzy you get Citymapper will look after you.
It also quite endearingly gives you a ‘rainsafe’ option for your journey, as well as letting you know what the weather will be like when you get there.
Finally a transport app that not only works but also has a little bit of heart.
1. The Underground has individual seats, the Subway just has benches – with benches people spread out and leave less seats for everyone.
2. The Underground has upholstered seats, the Subway seats are just made of shiny plastic so you slide into the sweaty stranger next to you at every stop.
3. On the Underground you can get to the opposite platform without scanning your ticket again, on the Subway you have to exit and enter again – only problem is you can only use your metro pass once every 18 minutes.
4. The Underground has easy to differentiate line names (Jubilee Line!), the Subway just has a bunch of meaningless letters (E train?).
5. The Underground gates open automatically when you touch in, many of the Subway gates have to be pushed by hand (which then become dirty dirty subway hands).
6. The Underground has individual tunnels per platform (only noisey when your train is there), whereas on the Subway you can see across multiple platforms (ridiculously noisy all the time).
7. Both the Underground and the Subway are full of crazies, but at least in London they keep the crazy on the inside most of the time.
8. The Underground is full of posters, artwork and advertising; the Subway is just dirty crumbling concrete and growing damp mould.
9. Most of the time you can understand the announcements on the Underground, the Subway just has screechy mumbles with an American twang.
10. Bond never went on the fucking Subway.
There is a lot of angst that goes into London commuting. Between my head being in someone’s armpit and endless signal failures it is really nice to see something like this…
As seen at Clapham North underground station.
I have confessed my love for trains time and time again. Add design and art to the train mix and I am in heaven. Thankfully 150 of the best London Underground posters are currently on display at the London Transport Museum to celebrate the Tube’s 150th birthday.
The posters are set over three levels in the museum, in a rabbit warren of an exhibition space. But the colours, the type and the clear messages just leap off the walls. When such famous artists lend their creative juices to a flat piece of paper the only thing to do is wander round in awe.
The best part is that when you buy a normal ticket to the London Transport Museum it lasts for a year – which means that this exhibition is FREE if you have been recently!
Here are some of my favorites:
Winter Sales (1921) Edward McKnight Kauffer – I like that although shopping/sales are associated with bright eye catching colour, this poster focusses on the grey winter weather and uses the orange as an almost afterthought.
Or Take the Tube (1987) by Nick Hardcastle – the ultimate passive aggressive poster
London Transport – Keeps London Going (1938) by Man Ray – I could like these posters because they are now worth over £100,000, but mostly I like them because they were created when Saturn had just been discovered and they have the audacity to compare Saturn to the roundel (the red circle with blue line through it) showing that the Underground is new and exciting.
London After Dark (1968) by Fred Millett – Such a snapshot of a time period
The Swiftest Way to Pleasure (1913) by Charles Sharland – Do you think Sharland was innocently using the phrase ‘the swiftest way to pleasure’ ?
It is cooler below (1926) and It is warmer below (1927) by Frederick Charles Herrick – Something for every occasion.
Girl to the left of me quietly sobbing;
Man to the right of me quietly singing songs from Glee – from ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ to ‘Run the World (Girls)’;
Man diagonally to the left trying to curl his hair with a pencil;
Mother to the diagonal right trying to explain to her son where babies come from ; and
The woman across from me reading Mein Kampf.
London underground you have outdone yourself.