Coffee House

24 hour Tubes are on their way — the impact on London will be huge

21 November 2013

2:51 PM

21 November 2013

2:51 PM

Ravers of London rejoice — 24-hour tubes at the weekend are finally on their way. TfL has announced today that trains on the Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines will run constantly from Friday morning till Sunday evening.

The all-night drinkers of the capital have long wondered why it wasn’t possible to keep the Underground running all night. Engineering work has been blamed, while the trade unions have remained bolshie with TfL (I can’t wait for Bob Crow to pop up complaining about this).

But by 2015, these lines should be all set for the 21st century. If you happen to live on one of these lines, you’re all set for a weekend of non-stop partying:



The economic and social impact of 24 hour Tubes will be huge. I’d surprised if there’s not a significant rise in applications for 24-hour alcohol licenses — which pubs wouldn’t want to take advantage of this opportunity to inebriate their patrons? Plus, there’s the extra fares collected by TfL, the staff employed and so on. And there will be additional pressure on policing and other public services: the price of more alcohol. TfL estimate the ‘Night Tube’ will cost £10 million and increase revenue by around £10 million.

I’ve spent countless frozen hours waiting for the 88 bus to ferry me home at 3am. It presents a difficult decision for the midnight rambler to take Sadly, the excuse of leaving a rubbish party ‘to get the last tube home’ looks set to wither and die. And the midnight rambler’s decision has been made easier — get home quickly on the tube, or resign yourself to an hour on a noisy, smelly bus home.

Might we also see a shift in the work/life balance? My opposite number at The Economist, Emma Hogan, thinks that employees will be enticed to stay later at the office and work longer. The New York Subway is often full of Wall Street types late at night heading home after a long, long day in the office…

As well as those who live near stations, cabbies will also suffer. The cost/benefit analysis of getting a cab in the middle of the night will have to be entirely reconsidered. For better or worse, London is on the way to becoming a city that never sleeps, leaving other British cities even further behind.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • herewegoloopyloo

    When supporting his ‘Island’ earlier this year Boris said
    it would be intolerable for local residents to have to endure 24 hour
    working at Heathrow.

    How come it is now OK to do this to people who live near/above tube lines?

  • Chrissy Tan

    Can little red dot do the same without fare hike?

  • RoadrunnerNick

    Even farther behind.

  • Craig Bauer Melson

    not really convinced city workers will adapt though! you’re ignoring the fact the tube is already open until midnight, so city workers can work up to then already!

  • justejudexultionis

    I recently discovered that fifty million people in the UK do not live in London. I even discovered that humans had established permanent settlements as far north as Leicester. An acquaintance even spoke of habitations in the upper reaches of the island of Britain – a place called ‘Caledonia’ or some such… I dismissed these rumours as foolish speculation. ‘No life is possible north of Finsbury Park’ I intoned, rendering my interlocutor speechless.

  • Ken

    Personally I don’t see any need for 24 hour tube services. We all heard how extending drinking hours under Blair was going to reduce anti-social behaviour – the opposite happened. This move will make areas of London, especially the W End, even more horrible than they are now. I pity the staff who will have to deal with mindless drunks all night. A really bad move from the fool Johnson.

  • Blazenka Hudson-trograncic

    I love the N73 bus.

  • RavenRandom

    Blimey London joins the 20th century.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Taxi drivers will be seriously miffed. Those running bars, however …
    Face it, shutting down public transportation at around midnight was put in place to ensure the workers got sufficient rest to get to work the following day. Social engineering …

  • perdix

    Expect more crime and antisocial behaviour. All bars should close at midnight.

    • Toby Esterházy

      Especially when the over-12 punters are mostly students, studying at the public’s expense. Why should taxpayers indirectly subsidise them to go on a bender?

      • Adam

        Have you ever actually had a beer in central London?

        The vast majority aren’t students at all.

        • Toby Esterházy

          The ones around after 12 are definitely students with local digs nearby!

          • Adam

            As a regular late-night London drinker this hasn’t been my experience at all. That said, perhaps you frequent more ‘hip’ establishments than I do!

            • Toby Esterházy

              Strip clubs don’t really count!

  • 15peter20

    “leaving other British cities even further behind”

    Most other British cities are not so large that getting home requires shelling out for a taxi etc but yes we’re all very envious of course, it sounds wonderful.

    • dalai guevara

      Oh look, I can actually get a taxi in Manchester now, given that we’re in recession. May this turmoil continue for as long as humanly conceivable.

    • justejudexultionis

      Yes it must be wonderful to live in an immigrant sinkhole ridden with banksters and bogus asylum seekers where everything is unaffordable and where the traces of British culture are vanishing by the day…

  • dalai guevara

    Lorries off London streets, a 24h tube, cycle lanes! We are becoming ever more like Paris, Berlin and A’dam. Now you see, I do not have a problem with that. When it makes sense it makes sense.

    • Pier66

      London is much much better then paris berlin amsterdam !

      • dalai guevara

        Last bus Oxford Street 11pm sharp?
        That’s when Lisbon, Milan and Valencia go out for dinner, matey. You’re clearly past clubbing age.

    • artemisinfrance

      My daughter takes her car into Paris if she is going to be returnng home alone after a night out. And thé Metro stops at 1 a.m. For several hours before that it’s not always a friendly environment.

      • dalai guevara

        Yes, this was a list, nicely in order and not applicable to all cities.
        Paris – no lorries
        Berlin – tubes all night
        A’dam – bike lanes.
        The city of London, the new Pamsterlin.

    • sillyusername

      Yep and just like those cities you are going to pay the people who have to provide these services?

  • salieri

    The impact on London may be huge but possibly not on the Northern Line, of which one branch or other has simply been shut down altogether for ‘engineering works’ practically every weekend, for as long as I can remember. Never mind 24 hours, on Saturdays and Sundays it isn’t even open in the daytime. We have a reduced underground system but never reduced fares. Unless this changes, London won’t be a city that never sleeps but a city that sometimes doesn’t work.

    And will we still have to listen to all those bloody announcements for the blind, the deaf and the mentally retarded?

    • Pier66

      Why Northern line often has engineering works?

      • sillyusername

        Because the infrastructure is ancient and has not received any investment.

        In other words the whole thing is about to collapse and what it really needs is to operate around the clock with no maintenance.
        Happy days.