New app feature reveals how to travel across London only using Tubes with air


There’s one thing no one wants to do in London‘s stifling 30 degree heat… and that’s take the Tube.

But fear not, travel app Citymapper has introduced a ‘With Air Conditioning’ feature that shows which modes of transport you should take if you want to beat the heat.

Brits have been facing soaring temperatures this month, with highs of 32C in some places.

But as the heat outside rises so too does the heat underground, where temperatrues on deeper-level Tube lines, like the Central and Bakerloo, can reach a stifling 32C – making for a rather miserable commuter-packed rush hour journey.

Pictured is a map showing the ‘with air-con’ and ‘without air-con’ routes for travelling from Stratford to Westminster

Pictured is a map showing the ‘with air-con’ and ‘without air-con’ routes for travelling from Peckham Rye to Covent Garden

Pictured is a map showing the ‘with air-con’ and ‘without air-con’ routes for travelling from Ealing Common to London Bridge

There are just four tube lines that currently have air-conditioning – Circle, Hammersmith and City, District and Metropolitan.

Other transport options in the capital that offer a breezy commute are the Overground, Northern City line, Elizabeth line, Thameslink and London Trams. 

Citymapper is a handy directions app for those trying to navigate the capital’s complicated travel network, with helpful features such as advising which carriages are busiest and which station exits to come and go from. 

The app gives you a list of suggested routes you can take – which can vary in duration and ticket cost. 

And you don’t have to use the app any differently to access its new air conditioning feature, as when you map directions to a destination it will automatically highlight which routes have air-con for the whole journey. This will be below the suggested routes.

To test its feasibility, MailOnline compared four cross London journeys to regularly-visited areas to see how the air-con routes stand up on price and journey-time. All journeys were mapped for the commute time on a weekday at 7am.

And the feature proved pretty successful, with the journey time and ticket price working out very similar to the non air-conditioned routes.

There was only one journey where going for the air-conditioned route was going to add more than 10 minutes to your journey – travelling from Ealing Common to London Bridge.

The quickest route Citymapper suggests for that journey takes 36 minutes and involves getting the Piccadilly line to Green Park, then changing to the Jubilee line.

But if you want to keep cool, the shortest air-conditioned route is to get the District line to Ealing Broadway, then change to the Elizabeth line to Farringdon, before jumping on the Thameslink to your final destination of London Bridge. But this journey still only takes 47 minutes.

And for one journey, travelling from East Putney to Shoreditch, choosing the route without air-conditioning will actually take you the same amount of time – and cost more. 

Pictured is a map showing the ‘with air-con’ and ‘without air-con’ routes for travelling fromEast Putney to Shoreditch

Building new ventilation shafts would be expensive and the small tunnels (pictured) don't have enough room to bolt on large air-con devices

Building new ventilation shafts would be expensive and the small tunnels (pictured) don’t have enough room to bolt on large air-con devices

Underground furnace: How temperatures soared on the Tubes during the 2018 heatwave

Underground furnace: How temperatures soared on the Tubes during the 2018 heatwave  

Scientists claim the rising temperatures – which resulted in Britain experiencing its hottest summer on record in 2022 – are ‘only the beginning’, so air-conditioned commutes might become more of a necessity. 

However TFL has said there are plans in place to introduce air-con on other London lines, including the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Waterloo and City and Central.

New designs for Piccadilly line trains mean it could have air conditioning as soon as 2025.

But while the other three lines are due upgrades in the near future, there are no set dates as of yet. 

One of the reasons the majority of Tube lines – Central, Bakerloo, Victoria, Piccadilly, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo and City – don’t yet have air-con, is that the systems are very old.

The tunnels were built in the Victorian era and have just enough room for the trains themselves to fit through.

And according to charity Engineering & Technology, this means there would be nowhere for the hot air pushed out of the carriages to go. This hot air would just heat up the trains even more.

Building new ventilation shafts would be expensive and the small tunnels don’t have enough room to bolt on large air-con devices.

The lines that have air-con are simply newer, so the tunnels were made large enough to fit the equipment. 

In order to fit the old Piccadilly line tunnel with air-conditioning, new train designs have reduced the number of bogies, structures holding train wheels in place, underneath. This extra space is to be used for air-con systems.  

It comes after the BBC revealed London Underground journeys are on the rise again, and now 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. 

According to data from TfL, 91 million Tube journeys were made in April. This compares to 101 million for the same month four years ago in 2019. 

Journeys on the network have however risen by almost 12 million since the same time last year – when the country was still reeling from the effects of Covid. 

Saturday and Sunday are currently off-peak all day, resulting in a reduced fare, with peak times being Monday to Friday between 6.30am and 9.30am and between 4pm and 7pm.

After data showed that Fridays see 28 per cent less Tube customers than Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it was suggested TfL might make travel cheaper either side of the weekend. 

But responding to the claims, a TfL spokesperson said that there were currently no plans to change the timing of off-peak tickets.



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