Public Spirited Tube Driver Gives Safety Tip To A PassengerMay 3, 2010
I saw this news item on the Metro paper last week. At lunchtime on Monday at Warren Street station on the southbound Victoria line to Brixton, a tube train driver ripped into a passenger for standing too close to the platform edge while wearing sunglasses (yes, you read that correctly). Anything is permissible in this great metropolis, but not that level of stupidity. This is what the driver said over the intercom:
“Excuse me, you in the sunglasses, yes you. You were standing over the yellow line when the train arrived. There’s a yellow line there for a reason. You need to take a bit more care. Perhaps if you weren’t wearing sunglasses on the underground, you may have seen the yellow line. You don’t need to be wearing sunglasses anyway, you’re 65ft underground. Take them off.”
The target of this ticking off eventually realised who the driver was talking to and took off his glasses looking sheepish, according to one commuter. Although they admitted that the person looked a little out of place wearing the sunglasses, they felt the person didn’t deserve the humiliation. I disagree. Safety is paramount on the London Underground system and the driver probably thought for those few seconds, as he emerged from the tunnel and saw this man on the edge, that this was the day he’d be joining a very unwelcome club.
I once knew a tube driver who would tell me stories about instances of what they call ‘one unders.’ It’s a term used to describe people who fall under a train whether it’s due to an act of suicide, or an accidental slip. At rush hour, when the narrow platforms are stuffed with people four deep, the chances of a ‘one under’ increases. As you can imagine, seeing someone fall off the platform as you’re just pulling into the station, with no time to put on the brakes can be a traumatic experience and the driver has to take leave, until such time they are able to drive again. Sometimes, time and counselling doesn’t heal and they have to find another job.
A London Underground spokeswoman admitted it wasn’t the sort of thing they wanted their tube drivers to say and suggested he may had been frightened by the situation and that was his response. She concluded:
“Had the passenger fallen on to the track then that would have been far more shocking than what the driver actually said.”
I could not have put it better myself.