Help improve capital's travel habits through poetry

16 February 2015

Passengers on London's transport network now have the chance to have their poetry immortalised as part of Transport for London's (TfL's) iconic Travel Better London campaign.

The campaign uses poems to explain how passengers can help reduce disruption to everyone's journeys and improve the environment for fellow travellers by making small changes to travel habits.

Passengers can enter by visiting a special Travel Better London Tumblr page and write their own poem on one of the following travel habits saying how small changes can improve their journeys:

  • Not dropping litter
  • Pulling the passenger alarm unnecessarily
  • Allowing others off the bus and train first
  • Moving down inside the carriage
  • Not holding doors open
  • Ensuring priority seats are offered to those who need them
  • Not playing loud music

A distinguished panel including Aisling Fahey, Young Poet Laureate for London and a representative from the Poetry Society will select the most original entry. The winner will see their poem made into a poster, joining the iconic set of TfL's Travel Better London notices, and will be displayed on buses and Tubes across the capital. Artist McBess will create a new cartoon to go with the poem, featuring the winning writer in the drawing.

Habits which can cause delays include dropping litter, pulling the passenger alarm unnecessarily, holding the doors open and not letting passengers off trains before they get on.

Over the last year there were 430 hours of delays as a result of passenger actions. Delays to customers' journeys have been reduced by 40 per cent between 2007 and 2013, and London Underground (LU) is on track to meet the Mayor's commitment to reduce delays by a further 30 per cent by the end of 2015. The continuing trend of long-term improvement follows the success of the London Underground Reliability Programme.

Gareth Powell, Director of Strategy & Service Development London Underground, said: `While we are making improvements across the network, customers can also play a key role in helping us to deliver an even more efficient service. Some 400 hours of delays last year could have been avoided with just a few small changes to customer travelling habits. Littering, pulling the passenger alarm unnecessarily, holding the doors open and not letting passengers off the train are small actions that cause larger effects on the transport network.

`Other small measures passengers can take include carrying water with them when travelling. The campaign uses poetry as a way to advise our customers on simple steps they can take to help reduce incidents that delay services and impact upon everyone."

For more information about the campaign and the Travel Better London competition go to

1.The Travel Better London poetry competition runs from Monday 16 February until Sunday 1 March 2015. The poems must be 4-6 lines long and based on one of the travel behaviours shown in the campaign:

  • Litter left on the Tube, bus, trains and in stations
  • Pulling the passenger alarm unnecessarily and passengers falling ill on trains
  • Holding the train doors open
  • Moving down the platform
  • Moving down inside to allow room for others
  • Putting feet on seats
  • Ensuring priority seats are offered to those who need them

2. Full details and terms and conditions can be found at
3.The adverts will be displayed across the transport network including the bus and Tube
4.The long term reduction in delays caused by passenger action continues with a further 2% fall in 2014.
5.The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote a "more general recognition and appreciation of poetry", today representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, the Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages. It runs the National Poetry Competition, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and the youth performance poetry championship SLAMbassadors UK. A registered charity, the Poetry Society is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.