It's 'dog eat dog' on London's overcrowded Tube: report

Chronic overcrowding on London's Tube network turns people into animals who adopt a "dog eat dog" attitude to fellow passengers, according to a report released Tuesday.

Travellers ignore pregnant women or parents with babies in a "survival of the fittest" atmosphere on the underground train system, which is struggling to cope with never-ending tides of commuters and tourists.

"I'm a different animal on the Tube to normal life. I'm not me. I'm a bit less interested in others," one person told researchers for the study, compiled for City Hall bosses.

The British capital's vast underground network - embodied in the iconic London Tube map, much pored-over by tourists - is a perennial source of grumbling for London's weary workers.

Some parts draw more gripes than others. The Northern Line has the worst reputation, but many others can be hellish at rush-hour, with packed platforms and even more sardine-line trains, often so full that no-one else can get on.

Other examples of how people cope with the daily Tube grind include:

- "Suspension of the normal codes of behaviour - for example, going after a seat regardless of who else might want it, ignoring pregnant women and people carrying babies;

- "Adopting a Tube persona, more ruthless and selfish;

- "Switching off/shutting down - going into an automatic pilot routine, listening to music, turning one's back;

- "Developing strategies to reduce the impact of overcrowding - for example, by going the opposite direction for one or two stops in order to get a seat."

Transport for London, which runs the Tube network as well as London's buses and other travel infrastructure, insisted it welcomed the report.

"More and more people are travelling on the Tube, which is why it is so crucial that we deliver the much-needed improvements," said a spokesman.

"We are spending billions to increase capacity on the Tube by 30 percent, in what is the biggest investment seen in decades. This will mean more trains, able to carry more passengers, with faster journeys and larger stations."

But the report's authors said: "The overwhelming majority of passengers perceive the experience of overcrowding as a highly unpleasant and abnormal situation... Some commuters are left feeling tired and stressed out.

"It can take an hour or two to calm down," it said.