London tube operator reveals exactly what it is like to work on the Underground

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Wednesday 23 October 2019 07:30
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Picture:(Getty/Reddit)

London’s Underground is a network made up of rush hours, sweaty arm-pits, drunk singing, delays and, occasionally, witty announcements that veer from the norm.

A London Underground train driver conducted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) and used it to debunk, inform and tell people about what it’s like in their line of work.

Providing proof of their job via a picture of their staff pass, name tag and train operation bag, they wrote:

I am a Train Operator at London Underground.

Anything I say is my personal opinion and not that of, or approved by, London Underground.

The train driver answered everything we wanted to know about being a Tube train driver in London town...

1. Favourite line?

You only drive one line unless you are an assessor or a test train operator.

2. Do you get free travel on your oyster?

Yes. 
 

3. Is the phrase, 'Please mind the gap' as annoying to you as it is to the rest of London?

I hate the phrase mind the gap.

It is burned into my brain.

4. How long is a driving shift before you catch a break?

You can drive for 4 hours 15 minutes before you need a break, or 5 hours 15 minutes on duty.

5. What are the best parts of the job?

The money is good, the benefits are good.

Honestly the best part of my job is that I don’t need to take anything home and actually have a real work life balance.

I stable my train in the depot, or hand it over to another driver, and I just go home.

There is nothing to worry about when I’m at home like deadlines or meetings, no one calls or emails me on my time off. I literally just come in, drive my train, go home.

Like people used to do.

My job before TfL involved long hours and having to answer emails and whatnot when I wasn’t at work. Being able to switch off is the best part of this job tbh.

6. What happens to people caught in the tunnels?

They get arrested or detained under the mental health act by BTP.

7. When people wave at you, do you wave back?

I wave back to kids, staff and police.

Anyone else I ignore.

8. Can you hear drunks singing on the train?

Depends what they’re doing.

If it’s a full scale riot I can probably tell, but some drunk idiot is singing wonderwall and annoying everyone then no I can’t tell.

9. Why hasn’t the Central Line been upgraded so that it’s not boiling in the summer?

Money.

10. What was the most difficult person you've ever had to deal with?

A vagrant who when asked to leave took a dump on the floor of the train.

11. Some train drivers have great banter. Is it pre-recorded? Is it allowed?

The PA’s aren't recorded... that’s all I will say on that

12. What do you think of the Extinction Rebellion protesters in Canning Town?

I wouldn’t say they were blocking trains. They were up there for a few minutes before they got dragged down and got a beating.

Trains have been delayed because someone’s been sick on it for longer than that.

However I will say that dragging people off the train and beating them up is wrong and of course illegal. They should’ve waited for police. I was very impressed by the member of staff who tried to protect the protestors in the video.

I would say they clearly misinterpreted the travelling public in London and their distinct lack of patience.

I have been assaulted because someone got on the wrong train and didn’t want to go where my train did. Other people have been assaulted because of minor delays or what have you.

What happened to extinction rebellion was always going to happen. London’s commuters do not have the patience for that.

13. Are there any secret abandoned bunkers underground?

Winston Churchill’s bunker from the 2nd World War (whilst the war rooms were being built) is part of the underground network.

14. Are there any stations that should go?

I think they should get rid of Covent Garden.

It’s so pointless, literally like 5 seconds on the tube from Leicester Square to Covent Geden [sic].

And finally: Where's the train?

Delayed.

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