After months of rumours and false launch dates, a deal has been decided between London Underground Unions and TFL that should allow the implementation of the Night Tube Service to finally go ahead.
The last official date, 12 September 2015, was pushed back to 2016 after talks between Transport for London (TFL) bosses and unions broke down.
There is still no official launch date, regardless of £600,000 + in advertisement, the most recent estimate for initiation being late August at the latest.
Now that the bickering and doubting are behind us, there should only be excitement for this new service. TFL claims it will transform the capital, ‘boosting the economy and helping to maintain London’s status as a vibrant and exciting place’.
They are also delivering a series of events along the network in celebration of this new service. ‘Firsts for the Tube’ will include activities such as a photographic exhibition, cinema experience and pop-up music, dance and theater performances.
However how much of an impact will the new service really have in London, especially in the outer Zones such as East London? Here are the facts:
- TFL has said the Tube will run on weekends only.
- This service will run on Jubilee, Victoria, Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines. They are also planning to expand the service to parts of Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith and City.
- A 24-hour Overground service could also be a possibility for 2017 and DLR service from 2021.
- As for the costs of the service, TFL will charge standard off-peak fares.
As East London students we were curious to investigate how the Night Tube would improve services in our area. According to the changes, the 24-hour service would apply to the Jubilee line from Canning Town at the nearest. As the DLR will not run overnight until 2021, night buses are still the only option to commute from Canning Town. TFL does state the night tube will only ‘complement our existing Night Bus services and London Taxi and Private Hire vehicles’.
A colleague of mine tested the Night Bus service as a University student new to London, coming home from a night out in Central. He reported having managed to make his way to Kings Cross at 1am where unfortunately his phone died and no tube/train services were available. As a London newbie, he had no knowledge of the Night Bus routes and which buses he had to get in order to return home without the use of apps such as City Mapper. He ended up having to walk 4 miles from Stratford.
Needless to say, finally arriving home 3 hours later, he was not too satisfied with his journey.
However, this is just one bad experience of the night bus so we endeavored to collect a wider opinion from the public of East London, as well as their general views and expectations of the 24/7 tube.
Although the majority of those we interviewed were positive the Night Tube will benefit them by cutting late night journey times in half, the Night Bus will still be needed for areas the Night Tube won’t reach. We were curious to know why the DLR and Overground later service is so delayed and what made TFL decide which lines to apply this new service to. We voiced our concerns such as these and the Night Bus to Keith Foley, head of the Night tube.
‘My personal opinion – Once we’ve got this up and running, it will start to grow’
It is clear that Keith is very optimistic about the Night Tube. He has described to us the complications and restrictions of starting this exciting new service and appeared heavily passionate and invested in its success. Keith told us in the interview that he believes the media thrives on negativity, but he thinks all the harsh critics will be silenced once the effectiveness of the 24-hour service is revealed.
However, his opinion is likely to be positive as the position he holds is in control of operations for the Night Tube.
There are still various areas where people hold some concern. One area is with regards to the workforce of TFL and the Unions. Another concern which although has been addressed, but still presents a problem, is the fact that London Overground and the DLR lines will not be included in the Night Tube service initially. Mr. Foley was clear in telling us that there isn’t a specific start date for the 24-hour tube service but told us that we can expect it to be up and running towards to end of the year.
Hopefully the citizens of London will not have to wait too long to see the Night Tube in business.