If you were tasked with building an underground network from scratch, which bits of metros from around the world would you borrow from? Here's our choice, including mini museums, 5g coverage, and cheap pizza.
It's true that Moscow's palatial metro system was overseen by a ruthless dictator and built as one sprawling statement of Soviet propaganda (which also happened to have trains). That aside, you can't deny its eye-aching beauty. We'll take the gleaming marble floors, Baroque wedding cake ceilings laden with splendiferous chandeliers, and stained glass arches. Might just dial down the hammer and sickles a bit.
Sicily's simple map
Map-wise we're taking our cue from the world's smallest metro system, the Metropolitana di Catania in Sicily. You won't get lost on our tube network.
London's moquette seats
No one's suffering from a numb bum on this fantasy tube network of ours, because we're using London Underground's squidgy, durable — and eminently marketable — moquette. Actually, THAT'S how we're funding this underground system: a gift shop flogging moquette themed bow ties and egg cups.
Seoul's in-journey entertainment
Squinting to watch BBC Breakfast/the footy highlights on your tiny phone screen on the morning commute? Not on our trains. We're copying Seoul's train carriages, which broadcast news and sports on big screens above your head. Back of the net.
Athens' on-platform museums
When digging a metro system beneath 3,000-year-old Athens, a slew of ancient artefacts was unearthed — including ionic columns, mosaic floors and the bones of a horse which drowned in a flood. These, and many more objects are on display in mini museums dotted around various Athens stations. After ploughing up our network, we'll put a museum in every station, showcasing everything from bronze age burial grounds to marginally vintage cans of Dr Pepper.
According to Koryo Tours, a ride beneath the streets of the North Korean capital costs around five Korean Won — that's just over 3p, and around 80 times cheaper that a zone 1-2 single in London. We really are going to have to shift some novelty moquette products, aren't we.
Tokyo's option of women-only carriages
Metros the world over are, unfortunately, a hotspot for unwanted attention and sexual abuse. Women-only carriages have been a thing on Japanese trains for a century, and on Tokyo's modern day metro, they're offered at busy times of the day, creating a safe commuting space. It's a controversial subject — does it normalise the danger of assault in mixed spaces? Does it put the onus on women to remove themselves from danger, rather than society to take action to make all all carriages safe spaces for all people? — but many other metros offer a similar thing, and it seems a sensible option to have.
Paris' art nouveau signage
The perfect metro signage should lure passengers in from surface level with promises of a subterranean wonderland below. Hector Guimard's art nouveau entrances on the Paris metro do that in spades — sprouting and twisting out of the ground like something out of a Tim Burton film. It's pure enchantment. Soz, roundels.
Beijing's 5g coverage
In 2019, Beijing's was the first underground transport network to achieve full 5g signal coverage across an entire line. Within a few years it's (hopefully) going to be tough to imagine many metro networks without it — that includes London too. Actually, we've just decided our network's going to have comprehensive 6g coverage. So there.
Barcelona's, Hong Kong's, Shanghai's, etc air conditioning
Like universal internet access, air con is a no-brainer really. I mean, imagine having a tube network that's not fully air conditioned. IMAGINE.
Dubai's 'Gold Class' section
Hmm. Actually, do we like the fact Dubai's richest passengers can fork out double to ride 'Gold Class'? Especially as it's patently BLUE. Nah, scrap that. Our underground network's going to be egalitarian.
New York City's festive specials
Forget the Rockefeller Christmas tree — surely the coolest festive NYC tradition is the running of vintage metro trains. (Who wouldn't want to be transported back to 1930s New York?). London, of course, runs heritage services on the tube from time to time, but one major difference is the cost: you can access NYC's vintage specials for the price of your usual ride. Aces!
Prague's pizza vendors
Yes, we'll have plenty of wacky vending machines on our network, doling out everything from bananas to whisky. But we're also nicking Prague's idea of pizza vendors perched on station concourses. A whopping slice of quattro formaggi or salami is yours for about a quid. That's your breakfast and dinner sorted, anyway.
Los Angeles' accessibility
Every station on every line of the Los Angeles metro is accessible to wheelchair users. That's certainly easier to achieve when your network is just 30 years old — and seeing as ours is brand spanking new, we've got no excuses.
Newcastle's metro that goes to the beach
If your metro system had the option of a direct trip to the beach, you'd end up in the pub far less — maybe by two, even three, times a year?
Some of you might have something to say about all this. Tell us how you'd create your own perfect tube network, in the comments below.