London's Night Tube won't return until 2022

15 April 2021, 15:42 | Updated: 15 April 2021, 15:52

London Underground station at night
London Underground station at night. Picture: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty
Radio X

By Radio X

The Transport commissioner revealed that the night services returning were less of a priority than "securing the whole network".

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London's "Night Tube" isn't likely to return until 2022.

The move, which is another likely blow to clubs, bars and those in the nighttime economy, was revealed by the TfL this week as the first phase of lockdown was lifted.

Transport Commissioner Andy Byford to the Evening Standard: "We need the personnel to keep the day services going and frankly there isn’t the demand for it, so there are no immediate plans to restore the Night Tube within a year, and certainly not before 2022.

"Securing the whole network is more important than keeping the night tube going."

The service - which saw customers able to use the Victoria, Jubilee, Central, Northern and Piccadilly Lines for 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays - looks to be one of the last transport features to return to normal in an effort to prioritise safety and hygiene for commuters.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, called the decision “an absolute travesty."

He told ES: "You have huge venues like Printworks and Studio 338 in Greenwich where the night tube is fundamental to the safe dispersal of audiences, so this is a fundamental flaw in TfL’s planning."

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The news comes as England spent its first week launching lockdown measures, which meant pubs and restaurants were able to begin serving outside, while gyms could reopen.

It is expected that the use of the Underground network will rise from around 25% to 40-45% and while the increased numbers will be an adjustment, Byford wanted to reassure Londoners that the network would still be safe.

"Platform staff will be making announcements asking if people could wait for the next train, but it is going to be a challenge there is no doubt about it," he told the outlet.

He added: "Please be patient and wait for the next service, if necessary, to maintain social distancing. There is plenty of spare capacity available so long as we all work together to spread journeys across the day."

Nightclubs are not set to reopen until 21 June - the last stage of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, but it is thought many late night bars will be fully open with social distancing on on 17 May.

The Waterloo & City line, which has been suspended during the pandemic, is expected to return in the next few months.

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