By Charlie Conchie
Night Tube services are set to return on the Central and Victoria Lines in time for Christmas but driver shortages are preventing a full rollout, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said today.
Speaking at Mayor’s Question Time this morning, Mr Khan said that restarting the 24-hour service on the 27th November was a sign that the city’s “thriving night time economy is returning”.
The night tube has been suspended since the pandemic took hold in March 2020 and the Mayor has faced growing calls from London’s hospitality and entertainment sectors and women’s campaigners to reinstate it.
But he blamed driver shortages caused by the pandemic for preventing a full rollout across five London tube lines. He said: “We have started refilling the shortfall in train drivers and as soon as we have started filling those roles we will open all the lines.”
He added: “There is no reason for not opening all five lines other than a practical one.”
Mr Khan said that he had been lobbying government to increase funding for the provision of public transport in recent months, and argued this was the best way to encourage people back into the city and increase fare revenue.
He said: “We will continue to try and reach a long term financial deal with the Government and to work tirelessly to reopen the remaining night tube lines as quickly as possible.”
The Mayor has faced growing calls to reopen the service following the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year. Tory Assembly Member Emma Best pressured the Mayor again today to prioritise the reopening of all five lines of the service for the sake of women’s safety.
City Hall Tories’ transport spokesman Keith Prince last week accused the Mayor of “dither and delay” over the reopening of 24-hour tube services.
He said: “Understandably, many Londoners feel safer travelling on the Tube at night as it’s a better-lit transport option compared to waiting for a bus on dark streets.
Responding to the Mayor’s announcement, Amy Lamé, Night Czar for London, said: “It’s fantastic to see London getting its buzz back, and the Night Tube offers a safe, quick way to travel across the city at night, whether you’re out enjoying the capital’s world-leading culture and hospitality, or one of the 1.6 million people that regularly work at night making your way home.