We won’t lie: the tube is often a baffling, confusing place.
An underground warren which makes very little sense, we have genuine sympathy for tourists trying to navigate their way around the various lines, desperately trying to work out why they’re at Bank but also, apparently, at Monument. Still, it’s less confusing than the New York subway, which features a load of different stations which all have the same name (meet you at 23rd Street, but it could be any one of four of them). Go figure, as they say, extremely annoyingly.
However, as the idea of driving to work in London is unthinkable, and cycling is fraught with both danger and also other awful cyclists, travel on it we must, like the wage-slave rats that we are. And a recently-launched new tool which Sadiq Khan has been plugging recently enables you to discover how many people share your commute every day, just to prove how unspecial you really are.
Apparently 393 people share my central line route of hell every day which means there’s 392 other people who have to suffer the hades-esque temperatures and minimal personal space which, in turn, makes me feel better that at least I’m not suffering alone.
But the tool can also be used for other fun activities, such as pointing and laughing at those idiots who do one of the many pointless journeys of the tube network: yes, we’re talking people who take the tube between two stops when it would actually be a lot quicker to walk between them.
The classic of the genre is, of course, the trip from Covent Garden to Leicester Square, which takes just four minutes to walk at street level, but six minutes on the Piccadilly Line (longer if there’s a big old queue for the lift at Covent Garden, which there always is).
And we’re delighted to report that 254 people a day do this journey. That’s at least 254 people who are stupider than you, which must come as some comfort in these troubling times. Weirdly, almost 100 fewer people - 158 do the journey the other way, we have no idea why but let us know if you work it out.
Another great one is the journey from Paddington to Lancaster Gate, which is a mere five minute walk, but takes in a line change and four stops via the central and circle/district lines if you do it by tube. According to the TfL tool, 110 utter idiots do this journey every day - I might go down to Lancaster Gate today and wait and laugh at every single one. Again, strangely, only 12 people do the journey the other way, suggesting that perhaps it’s disoriented people from Bristol or Bath arriving at Paddington who are responsible for the very silly trip to Lancaster Gate. Idiots, every single one of them.
But what about the other end of the spectrum, are there any poor souls out there that have to go from Upminster to Richmond every day? Well, apparently fewer than 10, so at least we don’t live under too vengeful a god.
Head to the tool and see what other insights you can garner - and I’ll see you down at Lancaster Gate later yeah? Bring sandwiches, cheers.