London is famous for its transportation system. “Tube” as how they call it in the UK and it looks complicated at first glance but do not be overwhelmed. Thankfully, I am used to this kind of transport system since we almost have the same here in Singapore, so figuring things out was not that hard. If you will compare them, Singapore has a more modern system, of course. Can you believe that the oldest tube line (Black line) is already more or less 70 years old (this is a very conservative estimate.) During our stay, there were several breakdowns on this line, that’s why I tried to stay away from this route since I was travelling and roaming the city all by myself.
That is also the beauty of this kind of transport system, there are several ways to get to a certain place and if you have a lot of free time and wants to explore the other parts of London, you can always get away from the shortest route just like what I did.
Observing their train system and to give you an idea, I came up with a comparison of London’s and Singapore’s train system.
Singapore Train System VS. London Tube
a. System Layout
Looking at the images below, both transport systems have the same layout, only that London’s more complex as it is bigger than Singapore. Whenever the mister and I talk about other countries’ transport systems, we always admire the brains behind each layout and how they were carefully designed and executed to meet the needs of their citizens. And yes, we wish the same for the Philippines.
individual photos were courtesy of lta.gov.sg and clarksbury.com
b. Walk, walk, walk
If you think you are used to walking, then you should be tougher in London. Please do not underestimate the walking distance! I really thought that it will be an easy peasy thing because long walks are normal in Singapore, but my usual distance here was doubled when I went to London. Thankfully, I only have flat boots with me. 🙂
Also, here in Singapore, if ever you alight at the wrong station (say one or two stations away from where you were really supposed to alight), all you have to do is just walk towards the opposite platform and ride the next train.
No, you do not have to go out.
Yes, it is just a few steps away from where you might be currently standing).
Inside the London Bridge Station
c. MRT Card
Now in Singapore, the MRT card is called the EZ-Link Card while, in London, they call it the Oyster card. They have the similar functions and both can be topped up after you used up the value. Since we were staying for more than a week, we opted for the Oyster card than the Travel card. Though some said that it is the most expensive way to travel around the city, it is also the fastest.
a. Open/Close Buttons
Some carts in the London tube have buttons from the outside door and you have to press it to manually open the door in cases that you may need to open/reopen the door from outside. I think we do not have such in Singapore, I mean, none that I saw or experienced to date.
b. Train Seats
Seats in the London tube have cushions while, in Singapore, they are made of plastic. On this part, I prefer the Singapore MRT. In my opinion, it is easier to maintain the plastic seats (hygienically speaking) compared to cushioned ones, especially with the number of passengers using them every day.
c. The Size of the Cart.
Carts in the London tubes are smaller.
d. No Eating Policy
If you have been to Singapore, you probably know that eating and drinking are not allowed inside the station. I think this is one thing that most of the tourists are not aware of whenever they visit Singapore.
I saw this happened a couple of times and at one point, I was seated beside these 2 women when they opened their McDonalds takeout food and started eating burgers inside the train. Everyone started looking at them and I was also hesitant about telling them and repeatedly asked my husband seated beside me if I should do it or not. But because I do not want them to embarrass themselves just because no one dared to say something about it, I tapped the shoulder of the girl beside me and I whispered to her that it is not allowed to eat or drink inside the train stations. Of course, they were very apologetic about it and said that they did not know. I was happy to help and that made me realize that research should really be done before you travel to other countries so you avoid such circumstances from happening.
For the London tube, it was the opposite. I am not very sure if they have the same rules, but when I was using the tube, I have not heard any public announcement about it. Also, there were several instances when I saw passengers eating and drinking inside the train.
Berry’s Travel Tip:
When walking on the escalators, Singapore and London have different rules and you must remember this:
- London – Stand on the right, walk on the left
- Singapore – Stand on the left, walk on the right.
London tubes are not air-conditioned which is very understandable, of course! It is so chilly outside and who needs an air conditioned train with that kind of weather! By the way, we were in the city during the winter season so I am not certain if they have air condition during the summer season. 😉
Going around the city via the tube is not that hard. All you need is a copy of their handy maps that can be found in all their tube stations. Just read and follow directions. If you are still unsure, you can always ask the Marshalls at the stations. They are very helpful, approachable and very good in giving uncomplicated details. 🙂
Unfortunately, in my week of stay, I did not get the chance to ride their famous red bus. 😦 Oh well! maybe next time. I hope you learned something from my post today. 😉
Travel far enough, you meet yourself.
– David Mitchell