Posted by: barbaraneill | February 20, 2013

What to do if you get lost on the tube

ImageWhat to do if you get lost on the tube

…or to be more accurate, if you get separated from your fellow travellers.

Have you ever considered what you would do if you were with some friends or family on the London Underground, (or any other underground, for that matter), and the doors of the train were to close with you on one side of them and your fellow travellers on the other?

I was inspired to write this after meeting up with some friends in London. Matthew, (the OTHER founder of The Two Dyspraxics), Tom, (yet another dyspraxic), and I have varying degrees of confidence on the London Underground, or ‘tube’.

In my younger days, I used to work in London and commuted, daily, from Kent so I am very familiar with travelling on the tube. In fact, it is, by far, the easiest form of public transport I have ever used and I just wish all other forms of public transport were as easy to navigate, especially for those of us who have been blessed with dyspraxia. Matthew, until relatively recently, was a tube novice but now he thoroughly enjoys visiting London, which he does on a regular basis, and is rapidly becoming familiar with tube travel. Tom, on the other hand, was travelling to London, alone, for the first time when we met up with him, so his experience on the tube was extremely limited.

As it was a weekend, we didn’t have any of the usual ‘rush hour’ problems to contend with but, due to engineering works on one of the lines, one of the trains we caught was quite full and there was standing room only. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, we should have made sure Tom was on the train first but we didn’t. Matthew got on with no problem, then I got on just in time to see the doors of the train closing with Tom on the other side of them!

Matthew and I had to formulate a plan pretty quickly and, to cut a long story short, we were all separated from each other for a while. Fortunately, we were able to meet up again so we continued having a great day out.

Because there is no mobile phone signal in the tube, so separated travellers are denied the luxury of phoning each other, it occurred to me, that we should have agreed in advance what to do if the worst were to happen. Whoever is ON the train when the doors close, should get off at the next stop and wait on the platform. The tube trains are very frequent and run every couple of minutes or so, so whoever DIDN’T manage to get on the train should just catch the next one; get off at the next stop and reunite with their fellow travelers on the platform.

Although we didn’t think of that when the ‘three dyspraxics’ met up, the idea came in handy a couple of days later, when I travelled on the tube with my youngest son, (aged fourteen). I explained to him, in detail, exactly what we should if we were to get separated. Clearly, he wasn’t at all phased by the possibility. His response was, “Of course, Mum. It’s obvious, isn’t it?!”


  1. I once met a man with two unleashed dogs, and at one station one of the dogs ran out, the other dog was out of reach elsewhere in the carriage, and the doors began to close! Luckily someone jammed the door open with his hand and the man was able to get out and get the dog back in. I guess people may want to leash their dogs especially if they have multiple dogs.

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