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Avoid the Tube? Who Are They Kidding?

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Over the weekend TFL shared with the world a new idea of theirs, that they hope and think will really work.

They've decided to hand leaflets out to people between Tooting Bec and Clapham North on the Northern Line to try to encourage them to take another method to get to work in the morning.

The Northern Line, the busiest on the London network, has recently undergone signal improvements and work to make it possible for there to be more trains on the line.

But this doesn't resolve the fact that between the stations mentioned, people can sometimes have to wait several tubes before they can squeeze their way on.

As somebody that used to get on the tube at Tooting Bec between the worst affected times of 8am and 8:45am, I only once had to wait for another tube, but I did often have to stand and got rather squashed a couple of stops down the line.

Now, due to moving I go to Tooting Broadway, and witness everybody else get crushed into gaps you didn't even think people could fit into.

As a commuter on the Northern Line, I know that people don't go from Clapham South to Clapham North on the tube, in fact, people hardly get off the tube at any of the stops they are targeting.

Most people stay on the tube until London Bridge or Bank and head off to make connections. At London Bridge a huge amount of people pile on to replace all of those that have got off, and most of those just go to Bank to make a connection onto another route.

By the time I reach Angel tube in the morning, I've normally grabbed a seat if I didn't already have one and there's plenty of room for those moving to shuffle around.

They're suggesting people walk or cycle. Well, for me, walking the 8.9 miles from my flat to university at that time in the morning is just a little unrealistic and I wouldn't feel very safe.

If I got buses I'd have to take three buses and the journey would take two and a half hours. If you think I'm getting up or leaving that early you can think again TFL.

Thirdly, they suggest cycling. beyond the fact I'm not sure how my cardiologist would feel about me cycling over 17 miles a day, every day, I respect my life too much. I'm not going to travel on London's killer roads on a bike, even if you paid me to do so.

Also, TFL clearly haven't thought through the cycling suggestion. They want people to buy a bike suitable for all weathers, many miles and all the safety gear - that adds up to a lot more than people normally spend on tube travel a month, where they're supposed to find the money is beyond me.

And before they say 'get the Boris Bikes' I ask them to walk around the stations south of the Thames and tell me how many of them have got bike stations parked outside for you to hop on one, because at both Tooting stations there isn't one in sight.

It's true that some people get off at Stockwell to change on to the Victoria line, and perhaps some of those people could walk or bus to Stockwell but if you still then have a 30 minute journey ahead of you, I can see why that isn't a very welcoming idea to many.

This is the worst plan they have ever come up with. There aren't alternatives that are practical for people to take, especially in winter where it's dark for longer and earlier and cold with rain thrown in.

But beyond all that, their idea of people getting on at one of those stops and only going a couple up the line is ridiculous, I'd tell them to get on the tube and observe peoples behaviour, but there isn't room for them to take up space needlessly.