After months of delays, strikes and negotiations, the London night tube is finally set to run from midnight tonight.
Trains will initially run on the Victoria and Central lines on Fridays and Saturdays, before moving to a 24/7 model across Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines.
According to the BBC, there are also plans to expand the service to parts of the Metropolitan, Circle, District, and Hammersmith & City lines after modernisation and on parts of the London Overground in 2017 and the Docklands Light Railway by 2021.
Snazzy new art installation of the night tube map at Brixton pic.twitter.com/8rWq32ulU7
— Patrick Smith (@psmith) August 19, 2016
Sadiq Khan has already taken the opportunity to use the introduction of the night tube under his tenure to take a stab at the previous Mayor. He told the PA that Boris Johnson, now Foreign Secretary, “gave up” on the all-night Tube before leaving City Hall in May.
He said: “It’s not me making a cheap point, but the previous mayor did announce the Night Tube start date on one occasion and that wasn’t met, on a second occasion, that wasn’t met, on a third occasion, that wasn’t met, and then gave up.
“My point is TfL staff work incredibly hard. It can’t be beyond the wit of a full-time mayor and TfL to make this work properly.
“When I see the enthusiasm from employers in London, investors to London, tourists in London, about the Night Tube, it’s surprising it’s taken us this long to get it.
“I’m pleased and proud that we’re here.”
Since the first night services were announced by then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson in November 2013, it has taken almost three years for his plans to become a reality.
In September 2014 it was announced that the first Night Tube services would begin the following year in time for the Rugby World Cup in England, but protests from the RMT over accusations that plans had “not been properly thought through” led to delays.
As I wrote here, it wasn’t about the money.
Following strikes in April and July the RMT recommended acceptance of a pay and conditions deal in February this year, setting it up nicely for Sadiq Khan to push it over the line in May and announce a start date.
Tonight, the first Night Tube service will run.
The business impact of the Night Tube is estimated to be huge. TfL says services are expected to add £6.4 billion to the London economy by 2030, creating 500,000 jobs.
Keith Tilley of Sungard Availability Services said: “After months of delays, strikes and negotiations – the London night tube is finally coming into effect this weekend. While the convenience of 24 hour travel across the Capital comes of great relief to Londoners – especially those who enjoy the Capital’s night life – businesses are also set to benefit.
“New figures from EY forecast show that the night tube will bring in an additional £2bn a year to the economy; boosting the £40bn already delivered by what’s referred to as London’s ‘24 Hour Economy’.
“While this is undoubtedly good news for organisations, this move will only serve to speed up the ever growing expectations from customers for continuous, 24/7 service. Even in our downtime, we expect uptime: whether that’s shopping online, reading the news or planning our next meal! In this non-stop, and online-first age, a two-minute website outage could lead to both a loss of custom and reputation. To put the threat into context, recent research by the Ponemon Institute found that the cost of just a single minute’s downtime for general businesses could reach over £5,700; highlighting that where there is opportunity, disruption also has consequences.
“The introduction of these night tubes are not just reinforcing the idea of a 24 hour London economy in which business never stops, but that of the 24/7 global customer, and as such businesses need to be equipped to keep up.”
Routes and Fares
Passengers will pay off-peak fares and day travelcards will be valid but will expire at 04:30.
About 100 police officers will be on patrol to allay any safety fears and eight new bus routes will now run 24-hour services to go hand-in-hand with the night services on the Tube.