10 types of Underground commuters spotted in London

The city is a rather populated environment. Bizarre, frantic, creative, busy, dreamy, grumpy, stressed, friendly, polite, selfish, hungry, green, chatty people crowd the Tube, with high concentration during peak, weekend, and night hours.

Differences are a treasure. And when you get on a train, with you there comes your bags, wordings, and habits. Now, regarding this latest, the way others use the time commutes take, can help us to think outside the famous box.

I have often pretended indifference while trying to look out of the corner of my eye at the actions performed by the other people around me on the train.
Here it is a list of the most common behaviours.

Certain types are more frequent than others. And - let’s be honest - now and then, at alternative days, I identify with some of these. Because we all need to make the most out of that average hour of commute!
And you?

1. The podcast addicted

With teeny tiny earphones or bulky and coloured headphones, they are glued on the 5ish inches screen of the smartphone, or they look around nodding the rhythm in the ears. If you are travelling on the Victoria or the Metropolitan line (less rattling than a Piccadilly or Jubilee), you may have the chance to listen to the music.
The problem may come if they are standing in front of the door, not getting off at the next one: “Sorry, do you get off?” not always receives an answer.


2. The make-up artist

Getting on at one of those stations where the trains start their run, has its perks. Like a nice row of empty seats. Which means less wobbly marks and the possibility to set on your laps a big transparent beauty case with the necessities, like concealer, foundation, lip gloss.
I always wonder how they manage to draw a precise and clean black line over the eyelid while the train is rushing. “Training” a friend of mine once told me. “Once you start doing it, it becomes easier.” Like learning to go on a bike.

3. The 24h connected: wait, where has the Wi-Fi gone?

It started in 2012, and then TFL rolled the service over more and more stations in the last years. Wi-Fi is now available over more than 300Overground & tube stations.

From Finchley Road, and then down on Baker Street, a breath of fresh network at Earl’s Court and South Kensington (depending on the line you are using) and then off again at Knightsbridge: the lack of Internet can still provide an excuse for not replying immediately emails, texts, or not checking your Twitter mentions. But for someone, it means the disappearance of a diversion.

Stations with Wi-Fi or over the ground can provide a solution. When this is not the case, stare at the screen or at the blue tick until the connection is back again. When are we reaching Farrington?

4. Readers & newspaper peeking

The most common one. Books, leaflets, Kindle, magazines and the unmissable newspapers. Stay update on the news, enjoy a pleasant novel, or go over those notes from the meeting.
And when the train is very crowded at peak hour, it is so easy to lean a bit to read that second page spread from the Metro the commuters sitting right left down you is reading. Just try to be quick: he/she may turn to the next article before you finish!

5. The train is your restaurant

Whether it is a missed breakfast or a way to save time before a meeting, meals on the trains are quite frequent.
From Sainsbury’s sandwiches, to Wasabi fried chicken, to Pre A Manger soup. If you are travelling home back for dinner, seeing others already enjoying food would make your stomach rumbling.

But, please, people, remember that trains are not rubbish bins. Finding banana peels or empty coffee cups on the seats is not as nice as newspapers.

6. The entrepreneur: computer & suit

We all are a bit pumped up in the morning, especially when we manage to wake up at the right time, to spray a good perfume, adjust the hairs in a nice braid, and have a full breakfast. Men in suits, with clean and ironed shirts, look so professional and serious at the beginning of the day. Then they find a seat, take out their computer from the bag and start typing. Yes, heading to the City.

7. The tourist: map, 4 suitcases, and a sun hat

Victoria, Heathrow, Liverpool Street. They load the train with open maps of the city and /or a couple of bulky trolleys or overfull backpack. Tourists but also sunny weekend/Bank Holiday guys who take advantage of a bright London day to explore the city. And no: if they speak another language between them, it's not 100% sure they are foreigners.

8. The manspreading

This is known to be an impolite man position, with their legs well spread, leaving the other commuters squeezing on their seats.
However, sometimes you can spot men and women alike spreading their bags, arms, coats on the side support (where the space is left for wheelchairs and buggies), or around the poles. Ever felt your hand pressed against the yellow rail by the back or backpack or bag of someone else?

9. On the run as a lifestyle

Always late: run through the escalator, surpass in the corridor, ask for “do you get off at Victoria?” just to position him/herself in front of the door right before you ages before reaching the platform.
It is not that the person didn’t wake up on time, or that the coffee spilt over the cooker, the eyeliner went on his way over the face, the tie matching the suit was under a huge pile of clothes, or the computer didn’t fit in the bag. Or, at least, these can be reasons to be late for one week, one per day.

Maybe they just checked their Fitbit or health app, and realize they need those extra steps to reach the daily goal. And all the rest of the world seems to move at a snail’s pace.

10. The selfier

Photographers may have had enough of pictures of the famous red-white-blue roundel. It is much more original to take a selfie, especially if you made the effort to get ready with glittering make-up, really cool dresses or a business-like jacket, the latest pristine white trainers, and gel on the hairs.
In some cases, also a tired face after the gym will earn you enough likes to carry on for the day.

However your commute companions will look like, remember...