Night Tube: the journey so far

Source: RTM Oct/Nov 16

Shortly after more Night Tube services were rolled out on the Jubilee Line in October, Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer, reflects on the successes of the all-night service so far, and its impact on the capital’s business and crime rates.

There’s no doubt that London is a 24-hour city, and we at Transport for London (TfL) are continuing our efforts to make the London Underground network 24-hour to match rising passenger demand on Friday and Saturday nights. The Night Tube has been running on the Central and Victoria lines since 19 August, was recently introduced to the Jubilee Line on 7 October, and the Northern (18 November) and Piccadilly lines are due to follow this autumn. 

The first Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines have been hugely popular. Around 100,000 people have used the service each weekend since its opening – tens of thousands more than was originally forecast – and with the recent launch of the Night Tube on the Jubilee Line this figure is set to rise even further. The popularity of the Night Tube has come as no surprise to us, considering that the services cut late-night journey times by an average of 20 minutes, and in some cases by more than an hour. 

Tube demand has soared over recent years, with passenger numbers on Friday and Saturday nights up by around 70% since 2000, while demand for travel on night buses has risen by over 170% in the same period. 

Passenger data shows that more than 50% of people using night buses are going to or returning from work – many of whom are now benefitting directly from the Night Tube.

‘Literally changing my life’ 

The reception of the Night Tube so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with many customers commenting that it makes it both easier and cheaper for them to get home at night. On social media, users have been voicing their support for the service, tweeting comments such as: “Loved not worrying about how I was going to get home last night” and “Did my first Night Tube journey home last night. Literally changing my life”. Many have also written words of thanks to the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for implementing the new service. 

The Night Tube has proven to be pivotal to London’s night-time economy, and the latest research from London First and Ernst & Young suggests that it could actually provide an even greater economic boost than originally anticipated: up to £77m a year. On top of this, Night Tube supports around 2,000 permanent jobs, and over 500 jobs have been created directly through the operation of the service, including part-time drivers, station staff, and maintenance and service control staff. 

Impact on nightlife and safety 

Businesses throughout the capital have been hugely supportive of the Night Tube, and have noticed how it has benefitted London’s nightlife. It is now much easier for residents, students and tourists to get home after a night out, more people are able to access entertainment hubs like the O2 and the West End, and online restaurant booking platform Bookatable even found that late-night restaurant bookings have increased by 21% since the introduction of the Night Tube. 

All stations are fully staffed throughout the night, and TfL is spending an extra £3.4m to ensure that British Transport Police (BTP) officers are patrolling the Night Tube. When all five lines are running Night Tube services there will be around 100 officers out at any given time. The introduction of the 24-hour service has not impacted the already low crime rates on London’s transport network. We continue to work closely with BTP to ensure the safe running of the service as it continues to expand to other lines, ensuring the safe operation of our network at all times. 

Overall the introduction of the Night Tube on the Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines has been a huge success, and we are looking forward to introducing the service on the Northern and Piccadilly lines later this year.



Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]



Andrew Gwilt   07/11/2016 at 22:21

Will the Bakerloo Line introduce the night service in December or will it be early next year. Same with the Waterloo & City line or just Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and possibly Bakerloo lines to introduce night service as night services are already started on the Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines. And from 2018 the sub-surface lines (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines) to also have night services operated.

Andrew Gwilt   07/11/2016 at 22:42

Night service from 2016. August-Victoria Line September-Central Line (parts except Hainault/Chigwell, Epping and South Ruislip/West Ruislip) October-Jubilee Line November-Northern Line (parts-not on Bank Branch) December-Piccadilly Line (except Uxbridge & Heathrow Airport) Night service from 2017. January or February-Bakerloo Line? (Possibly) May or June-Waterloo & City Line? (Possibly) Night service from 2018. January-Metropolitan Line (parts or all) February-District Line (parts or all) March &/or April-Hammersmith &City and Circle Lines (parts or all) Depends if the night service will be used on some tube lines and on certain routes.

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

Versatile coating system enhances Indestructible Paint rail industry role

12/08/2020Versatile coating system enhances Indestructible Paint rail industry role

A highly versatile and robust epoxy coating s... more >
Network Rail partners with Cycling UK for new initiative

03/08/2020Network Rail partners with Cycling UK for new initiative

Network Rail and Cycling UK have launched a p... 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

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


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 >