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London bets on poetry to combat abuse on the underground

Posting in Transportation

While we in the land of Blighty say that a cup of tea solves everything, Transport for London believes anti-social behavior can be eliminated by use of the poetic tongue.

In a new scheme, the transport authority teamed up with a collection of London poets from Monday to Friday last week for recitals at London's busiest train and underground stations, including Waterloo, Canary Wharf and the Embankment.

The poetry sessions are part of a larger scheme to encourage commuters to be less anti-social when traveling, which includes preventing the abuse of staff, discouraging littering and obstructing doors.

The "poetiquette" recitals were launched in conjunction with a Tumblr page that invites passengers to send in their own commute-based poetry attempts -- and a TfL marketing campaign including posters encouraging the use of travel etiquette.

One of the poets, Amy Acre, said:

"I think people when they're on the tube are so in that zone of huddling in and just getting through it and getting to work. It's nice to give people something a bit different and maybe inspire them and make them think in a different way, even if it's just for a minute. This project is a great opportunity to get poetry out there to more people that maybe would never listen to it and it wouldn’t occur to them that they might like it."

TfL said the campaign was launched in order to cut down on 400 hours of tube delays a year caused by commuter behavior. Holding doors open, refusing to move down a carriage and litter caught in train doors also contributed to delays.

Via: Skift

Image credit: Transport for London

— By on October 7, 2013, 9:22 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure