London’s overnight underground service will partially resume next month, having been suspended throughout the pandemic.
Trains will run through the night on Fridays and Saturdays on the Central and Victoria lines of the London Underground from November 27, which should allow many people to travel safely and stimulate the recovery of bars and restaurants.
However, the rest of the old night tube network – the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines – will remain closed until at least 2022 due to funding and personnel issues.
Transport for London said reopening the night Underground would make journeys shorter and safer for all Londoners, and women in particular. The other lines would reopen “as soon as possible,” he said, as he seeks long-term sustainable government funding to replace the billions in revenue lost since the start of the pandemic.
A petition to reinstate the night tube to protect women has reached nearly 140,000 signatures in less than two weeks, with women’s safety in the capital under the spotlight since the killings of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard this year.
Ella Watson, a student, started the petition, saying that a “well-lit and well-connected metro system, with a CCTV platform and properly trained security personnel, is the best transportation option to ensure that millions of women across London can return home safely. evening and night ”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘I know how important this is to London’s thriving nightlife economy, to London’s recovery and to the confidence and safety of all who return home at night , especially women and girls. “
He said reopening the lines “would make a huge difference to people traveling through our city at night and returning home, providing them with an additional safe and reliable transportation option. I will continue to work with TfL and the government to do everything possible to bring the full night metro system back as soon as possible. “
London Night Czar Amy Lamé said the reopening was “extremely welcome news for the nightlife businesses in the capital, which have been hit so hard by the pandemic.”
Michael Kill, Managing Director of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “With a focus on the vulnerability and safety of women at night and the thousands of night workers in London, we must push for full service be put in place as soon as possible. and fully open up London’s nightlife economy to the public.
Metro passenger numbers have reached around 55% of pre-Covid levels, and demand for off-peak leisure travel is now comparatively much higher, reaching 80% of 2019 figures on weekends.
The RMT union said security was affected by the decline in frontline staff at stations. Its general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT supports the reintroduction of the night tube, but we know full well that prior to its suspension during the pandemic, it attracted violent, abusive and anti-social behavior. “
TfL said it will continue to monitor noise and vibration levels on the tube network to minimize disruption when night services resume. It will also look into the reopening of night services on the Overground lines.