Hands up if you hate the Tube

Ben Kamara
May 16, 2014 · 3 min read

As a ‘Northerner’ working in the North but spending more time in London I am growing to love London; the energy it has, the mixture of people, the great new companies appearing here and there.

But, I cannot grow to love the Tube.

The UX of the Tube is terrible.

And yet other people have a seat with their knees out and a bag between their feet.

Which made me think why are there not entire standing only trains or carriages?

Standing only carriages, keeping 4 flip down chairs near the door, for accessibility, but everyone else stands. Over time people will know/learn which areas of the platform to get on and at busy times more people will get to their destination on the trains they prefer to be on.

Then in my research I found this BART project for San Francisco from 2009. Yes 2009.

Images of future past

5 years ago in San Francisco they identified this and began implementing resolutions. Why has this innovation taken so long to make it to London where space is a premium?

There are many examples of this kind of innovation in Europe, USA and around the world but I rarely see these kinds of public space, public sector, innovations in the UK.

Maybe I am too close to see. Do you know any?

I know there are certain UK companies making changes such as Virgin Trains but in the main train (and plane) seating has changed very little since the 60s.

People on the other hand have changed a lot. People are taller. At 6foot3 when i sit in most seats my knees extend so far out i am uncomfortable or i make other people uncomfortable.

Make the seat higher! By making the seat higher it changes the ergonomics; i take up less floor/horizontal space.

I recently invested in a Kickstarter by Simon Freedman. Where Simon has redesigned a seat that you can sit in for long hours at work which is based on the more human ergonomics of standing.

I hope Simon goes on to emulate the success of entrepreneurs like James Dyson.

But more so, I hope he and other innovators like him start to engage with the transport companies so that I might one day love the Tube too!

Design and Innovation

The role of design and innovation in all aspects of life…

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