London’s Night Tube service won’t return until 2022 which could be a major blow to the capital’s night time economy as it reopens in the wake of COVID-19.
The announcement is bad news for nightclubs who are hoping for as little disruption as possible as they try to recover from the pandemic.
Transport Commissioner Andy Byford told 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.”
According to Commissioner Byford, the Friday and Saturday night services would be the last to return to normal.
The Underground’s Managing Director Andy Lord said: “We are continuing to review our options for when we might be able to reintroduce the full Friday and Saturday Night Tube in a safe and viable way and are exploring the feasibility of reintroducing some services on one or two lines more quickly.
The full introduction of Night Tube services is not possible in the immediate future due to a number of factors including the continuing need to use Night Tube drivers during the day to run as much service as possible when demand is at its highest.”
However, industry leaders expressed disappointment with the decision as a return to 24-hour services is essential for the success of nightlife in the capital.
Michael Kill, Chief Executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “The Night Tube is fundamental to the operation of the night-time economy in London, the suggestion of this service not returning until 2022 will be catastrophic to the sector and will without doubt leave many frustrated given the volume of customers expected over the next few months.
“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.”
Clubs are set to return on June 21 as part of the government’s roadmap to recovery.