100,000 people boarded a Night Tube train on the 18th and 19th August, marking a successful start to the service’s opening weekend.
The Night Tube, which sees London Underground services running through Friday and Saturday nights on the Central and Victoria lines (soon to be expanded to the Northern and Jubilee lines), has been widely predicted to give London’s night-time economy a shot in the arm.
With restaurants a major player in the city’s late economy, the first signs of that much-debated boost are starting to appear. During evenings, revellers now have longer to stay out before their transport is cut off, they have more time to spend, and restaurants are eager for their share of the sales.
Signs of improvement
The New West End Company, which provides marketing and management services to London’s iconic West End leisure and retail district, reported a 7% year-on-year rise in footfall, with a 14% rise in Saturday night visitors to Oxford Street.
Elsewhere, Maxwell’s Restaurants Group cited the Night Tube as a leading factor in their decision to invest £1m in late-night venues. The group, which currently operates 11 restaurants and bars is now set to open two more next year. One of these new ventures will be Tropicana Beach Club. The hedonistic beach-concept is expected to open in October of this year.
Sales Manager Anthony Knight has seen the benefits of the Night Tube directly. “Takings in the last two hours [of the weekend of the 20th August] were the highest they’ve been for the past two years,” he told the FT.
A wider benefit
It isn’t just customers that will benefit from the Night Tube. With the average service and kitchen staff working late night shifts multiple times a week, the launch of the 24-hour service on weekends will improve satisfaction in what is known to be a high-pressure job environment.
The Night Tube will cut late-night journeys on weekends by an average of 20 minutes. Many journeys – mainly long night bus routes – will see over an hour of travel time shaved off.
New Mayor Sadiq Khan has stressed his commitment to bolstering London as a 24-hour city, and the Night Tube, though not his own plan, is a significant step towards sealing that commitment. Another major move is his creation of a Night Czar, a fixed-term office designed to “champion the value of London’s night time culture whilst developing and diversifying London’s night time economy”.
Of course, the full benefit of the Night Tube won’t be felt until the entire network runs 24/7 on weekends. We will revisit the situation in several months’ time to reassess this innovation on the leisure & hospitality sector.< Back