Comment

27.11.18

Night Tube: The twilight economy

Source: RTM Oct/Nov 2018

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its journey.

London boasts some of the best nightlife in the world, with its theatres, bars, and restaurants part of what attracts millions of tourists to the capital every year.

When the Night Tube started running 24-hour services on Friday and Saturday evenings three years ago, it was a great step forward in turning the capital into a truly 24-hour city. In that time it has helped to drive jobs and growth, and brought prosperity to the city and country by enabling the capital’s businesses to work through the night. But while this success has helped its night-time economy to flourish, the capital is still underdeveloped compared to other global cities, and it simply doesn’t live up to places like Berlin or New York in terms of the twilight experience.

The reason for this, in part, is that perceptions that surround the night-time business scene – such as the enhanced potential for nuisance, crime, and the side-effects on public health – tends to distract from the huge benefits a bustling night-time economy can deliver.

And the benefits are profound. Our analysis shows that the increased number of journeys across the Night Tube has already resulted in an additional GVA contribution of £190m to London’s economy. Over the next 10 years it is estimated to contribute an additional £1.54bn, and London’s night-time economic activity already accounts for something like one in eight jobs in the city. 

The Night Tube still has a vital role to play if the capital is to achieve its night-time potential. The service will eventually be rolled out to other parts of the London Overground rail network, to the Docklands Light Railway by 2021, and potentially Crossrail – increasing capacity and allowing even more passengers, from further afield, to access all the capital has to offer, long into the night.

But service expansion is not enough on its own. We need to tackle any concerns that are holding back the capital’s ambitions; concerns such as increased nuisance and crime, which persist because night-time businesses are often associated with bars, pubs, and clubs. What we need is the right supporting policy framework and a strategy that will enable and encourage all of the capital’s industries to benefit from night working. There is a pressing need: more people work nights in health and social work, and in transport, than in accommodation and food services. And the numbers working nights in arts, entertainment and recreation are dwarfed by those in a whole range of sectors including admin and support services, scientific and technical, and information and communication roles.

The opportunities from an expansion in working hours are substantial, but businesses across different industries that operate at night often tell us they feel like second-class citizens; as problems that need to be managed rather than embraced. Positive steps have already been taken by establishing the Night Time Commission and appointing a Night Czar. The challenge now is to manage the often-competing interests of residents, users and businesses in a way that strikes a balance between growth, the economy, and developing opportunity.

The Night Tube will of course play a vital role, but only if we concentrate on those opportunities, tackle head-on the concerns that can derail progress, and focus on how London can work later, longer, smarter, and safer.

 

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

€1bn investment into Ireland’s rail network

02/12/2019€1bn investment into Ireland’s rail network

The Government of Ireland has today (Dec 2) a... more >
Rail Delivery Group responds to 2020 rail fares proposal

02/12/2019Rail Delivery Group responds to 2020 rail fares proposal

Saturday (30 Nov) saw the rail fares for 2020... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >