By Vicky Anscombe on 19 May 2015

Ace of Base were right when they said that the summer was cruel. However, they failed to mention that on London's public transport system, it's hot, smelly, claustrophobic and almost always rammed. 

However, we all still have to get about. So how do Londoners cope when the heat is on and the bus isn't an option?

We hydrate.

Here's a tip you'll like. If you're commuting in every day, every evening, pop a bottle of mineral water in the freezer, then take it with you when you leave the house. By the time you're on that hot, sweaty train, it'll have started to melt - and you'll have ice cold water at your disposal. Delayed, or stuck on a packed train without ventilation? Wrap the cold bottle in a t-shirt or just hold it against your wrist or forehead. It'll cool you down instantly.

We wait.

If the carriage is too packed and we don't fancy an impromptu game of sardines, we take our time. There'll be another train in a minute or so, and we might even get a seat if we hold off. You can afford to get to your destination a minute later. Relax.

Tube poster

We know the 'illness drill'.

You know those alarms that all trains have? Every Londoner has this drummed into them from an early age - you only pull these once your train has arrived at the next station. Pulling the alarm in the tunnel will stop the train and delay it getting to the next station, which is where the poorly person will find help (and if they need to be sick, privacy). Why would you want to prolong their agony? TfL have even created a poster warning of the perils of stopping the train in a tunnel (see above), and a selection of useful videos to help tourists get to grips with the underground.

On the Tube

We're mindful of the space on offer.

And, guess what, we're not shy about letting other people know when they're being a bit thoughtless in that department. 'Can you move down please?' isn't a polite request - it's an order. Nobody wants to be stuck on a hot platform for hours.

We know where our priorities lie.

Don't be that person. Give up your seat if you see an elderly, pregnant or disabled person struggling. If you don't, we'll shame you into doing it by staring at you relentlessly until you do.

We know the power of the end-of-carriage window.

If we can, we try to secure a spot at the end of the carriage, where the large window is. There's nothing nicer than opening the window slightly and enjoying a stale yet refreshing breeze as the train hurtles along.

We dress in layers.

It may be cold by the time you leave the house, but by the time you've power-walked to the station and squeezed yourself onto a train, you'll have warmed up nicely. Take your coat and cardie/jumper in a small bag with you, and risk the walk in just your shirtsleeves. You'll find yourself stepping onto the train feeling much cooler - and ready for the sub-ground level delights of the Tube.

Image credit: Transport for London, Flickr, Vadim Timoshkin and Kevin Steinhardt

← Essential life hacks for keeping babies and toddlers safe in the sun

Don't cruise, you lose: Why cruising's where it's at →