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London's Night Tube now has a confirmed start date

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Fans of James Brown and nocturnal transits systems rejoice: the night train is coming.

Confirming the start date of the capital’s 24-hour weekend service – so far blighted by delays and industrial action over pay and working conditions - London’s newly appointed mayor Sadik Khan has revealed it will be rolled out on Friday 19 August.

Initially running on just the Central and Victoria lines, the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines to follow suit in autumn. Just think: no more pricey Ubers to catch that early long-haul flight at Heathrow, no need to sit on a cramped bus and have somebody be sick on your shoes, or conversely, be that person being sick on someone’s shoes – the capital is changing for the better, putting it on a similar footing to other major megalopolises.

And not before time. With all the boardroom wrangling and power plays that have gone on between unions, TfL and ultimately the last mayor, Boris Johnson, his predecessor’s appointment might have arrived at just the right time, with Khan hailing it as “absolutely vital” to his plans to “support and grow London’s night time economy - creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners.”

He’s not wrong: according to reports, a night tube has been estimated to boost London’s night-time economy like never before, generating some 2,000 permanent jobs and adding an extra £360m to the city’s economy.

TfL chief Mike Brown added this on the announcement:

“More than half a million people use the Tube after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and the introduction of the Night Tube, which will support London’s businesses and jobs, is a historic step in our modernisation of the Underground and our work to support London’s economic growth.”

Demand for night-time travel in London has never been higher. Late night usage of the network is increasing at double the rate of daytime trips, while night bus usage has risen by 170 per cent since 2000, meaning the night tube would also ease the burden of buses too.

Some 200 part-time drivers are currently undergoing a 14-week training programme for the night tube, so finger’s crossed there aren’t any more hold-ups. As Khan put it himself, “the constant delays under the previous Mayor let Londoners down badly.”

Ouch, Boris. You may want to get that sick burn looked at.

[Via: Evening Standard]

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