The idea was that I would get up early, travel up to Putney1, take some photos and report back on the sardine-like conditions on London’s trains in the rush hour.
So what went wrong?
- The sardines didn’t show. What I actually saw were scenes like this:
So, everything’s hunky-dory, then? Proof positive that overcrowding can be solved without your plan of punting the fares into the stratosphere.
- Well, hold your horses. While things were a lot less crowded it could have been because it was a Friday. More to the point, it did occur to me that almost no one on board could be described as comfortable. If you were standing the chances were you would be doing so in a rather contorted position and if you were sitting… well, the seats are too narrow, there’s no legroom, they’re far too upright (Tornado position3) and if you’ve got a window seat your legs’ll be crushed by what appears to be metal trunking placed there for that sole purpose.
- Frankly, I think I’d rather take my chances with the Tokyo rush hour.
You’re kidding me! Don’t they have people pushers?
- Apparently they do, not that I have ever seen them. And I’ve my own memories. But last time I went things were much more civilised.
The point about this, is that although everyone’s standing - they have to be the seats are locked out of use - they’ve all got a grab handle and can stand upright. Plus there at least four doors per carriage2 so they’ll be able to get out easily.
The thing is I suspect that British seats are so bad with knock-on effects to those standing because of incentives written into the franchise agreement between government and TOC.
- Well, these thing are subject to commercial confidentiality.
1. I chose Putney because in the days when I did commute, this was by far the worst stop with long waits as people shoved themselves aboard.
2. In some cases there are six.
3. So named due to the amazing similarity between the position they force the passenger to adopt and the position a Tornado pilot adopts immediately prior to ejecting.
Update. People pusher link fixed.