London's tube network spreads across the capital like an enormous spider's web and ferries millions of commuters and tourists around the city every year.
For many of those who use it, it's not the most pleasing of experiences, merely a means to an end, and even then, that end can sometimes be delayed by 20 minutes due to signal failure.
The evening rush hour is possibly the worst part of the tube experience, when the tiny carriages become packed with passengers whose early morning fragrance has been replaced by a new odour so challenging that they can cause your olfactory nerves to go into spasm.
For people who like to stay above ground and keep their costs down, buses are a popular alternative. But they can be just as packed as a tube carriage, and often get stuck in traffic jams.
But don't despair - there is another option. An option that is becoming ever more popular. It offers a leisurely stress-free ride and you're guaranteed not to get held up behind a slow moving vehicle. If you live or work anywhere close to the Thames, a river taxi could be just what you're looking for.
Of course, the network is somewhat limited, but passenger boats travel a fair distance in both directions along the Thames, making many stops along the way.
Thames Clippers are one of the bigger operators of boat services on London's main river. They have a lot of stops too, with Millbank Pier, Embankment Pier, London Bridge Pier, Canary Wharf Pier, and North Greenwich Pier among them.
Their catamarans set sail from piers every 20 minutes or so, and a ride from the O2 to the London Eye takes less than an hour. Pretty impressive if you're in a rush to see a concert at the
arena after enjoying an impressive view from the top of Europe's largest Ferris wheel. The boat could be a real boon – after all, you can't always rely on the Jubilee line, right?
An adult single between any two stops costs £5.50, or £5 with an Oyster card. Various day tickets and season tickets are also available.
Thames Executive Charters is another company offering a river taxi service, albeit a much smaller one than Thames Clippers. There's no need to book in advance; you simply turn up, pay (cash or cheque – Oyster cards are not accepted), and enjoy the ride.
Their stops include Putney in the east, Wandsworth River, Chelsea Harbour, Cadogan Pier, Embankment, and Blackfriars. From Putney to Blackfriars takes about 40 minutes.
To give you an idea of fares, a return between Putney and Blackfriars costs £15 (travelcard discount fare: £10), while a monthly ticket costs £285.30 (travelcard discount fare: £172).
Thames Executive Charters' river taxis currently operate during the morning and evening rush hours.
So if you're fed up with going down the tube, jump on a river boat instead and feel the wind in your hair (instead of warm dusty air).