Transport for London has said it will not be bringing the Night Tube back until 2022, despite pubs and clubs reopening. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Women are demanding Transport for London bring back the Night Tube as they say its absence has left them feeling unsafe getting home, following Sarah Everard’s murder.
In particular, hospitality workers - who often do night shifts - say they’re scared they will get stranded alone in central London.
Overnight weekend trains on the London Underground stopped at the start of the pandemic, however TfL has said the Night Tube won’t be reintroduced until 2022 - despite pubs and clubs reopening.
There have been several high profile attacks on women recently - including the kidnap, rape and murder of Ms Everard by police officer Wayne Couzens and the recent death of teacher Sabina Nessa.
Olivia Haart, an actor and hospitality worker, described her experience of being stranded in central London at 1am due to the Night Tube not running, and a lack of Uber and Bolt drivers available.
“London is now dangerous at night,” the 27-year-old said.
“After attempting to leave central London at 1am I have never felt more stranded.
“No night tubes and night buses every half an hour, Uber and Bolt unavailable, how are women supposed to get home safely?
“And you wonder why people are getting hurt?”
The recent death of Ms Nessa, who was attacked in a park, has reignited the debate around women’s safety in London, just six months after Sarah Everard was abducted and killed.
“It’s brought safety to the forefront of a lot of people’s attention,” Ms Haart told LondonWorld.
“Male friends will check I’ve got home safely and my boyfriend will always try to get us an Uber but then they have become extortionate, if they’re even available.”
Since the end of lockdown, Uber has seen up to a 40% increase in demand across cities in the UK.
“It’s made me reconsider where I live, the distance to a bus stop instead of a tube as these aren’t available,” Ms Haart, of Chiswick, west London, said.
The actor believes that the absence of the Night Tube impacts women’s safety in the capital.
“I think it’s affected people far more than TfL realises,” she said.
“This isn’t just about nights out and needing to get home after a few drinks, this is people who work in hospitality needing to get home.
“After your night out ends there’s a whole team there for another hour cleaning up after you. Don’t they deserve a cheap, simple and safe route home?
“Also essential workers working night shifts, how are they expected to travel?
“We were applauding them a few months ago and now we’re suggesting they fork out on expensive travel options, if they’re even available, or unsafe routes home.
“I personally question picking up late shifts and will rush to get out before missing a safe route home.
“And to be honest, after the last year I need the money and can’t afford to be skipping shifts.”
The night tube was suspended at the beginning of the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, and Tfl has warned that it won’t return until 2022 at the very earliest.
“I would beg TFL to reconsider the validity of a night tube,” Ms Haart said.
“Although I know they aren’t without fault, I feel far safer inside a Tube station after work waiting for a train instead of out on the streets waiting half an hour plus for a bus.
“I’ve lived in London for four years and always rented near tubes so I can get myself home safely.
“Now without the night tube I am 15 minutes away from a night bus and the walk takes me through a dark park.
“I won’t be an isolated case.
“We want 24-hour service, but aren’t prepared to protect our hospitality workers to get it.
“Eventually places in central London will begin to suffer.
“Without staff prepared to work late without a safe way home they will slowly cease to exist.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “We are playing, and will continue to play, our full role in London’s recovery from the pandemic.
“We are running as close to a full service as possible across all our services and the Tube continues to serve central London with last trains leaving around 1am and starting again at 5.30am.
“Our extensive night bus network continues to operate.
“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.”