Night Tube starts second shift as Bethnal Green gets ready for another rush of passengers
PUBLISHED: 00:21 21 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:02 22 August 2016
London’s new Night Tube network began its second shift at midnight with a rush of success on the Central Line after last night’s huge surge in passengers.
Thousands of east Londoners took to the Tube with a new freedom of travel right through the night on the Central.
Both the Central and Victoria lines are running round-the-clock every Friday and Saturday.
Revellers took advantage of the night shift brought in by Transport for London to go uptown and not worry about having to catch the last train home.
Bethnal Green station manager Dave Tilley clocked at least 300 passengers arriving in crowded trains in the first two hours of Night Tube on the Central yesterday with more arriving hour-by-hour through till dawn.
They seemed elated by the new freedom to roam, especially young women feeling safer.
Amita Satari, a telecom research analyst, was so delighted getting to the top of the escalator after a late-late night out with friends that she had to stop for a ‘selfie’ in the ticket hall before going out into the street above.
Following close at heel on the ‘up’ escallator was Sidra Zabit, 24, who works in Bethnal Green for a women’s employability programme, but lives in Brixton, the other side of town.
“I can go anywhere now,” Sidra said. “For young women having a Night Tube is the safer option in deciding how we get home.
“There are staff at every station and you can get off if you feel unsafe. You can’t do that on a bus where no-one intervenes and there’s no recourse to safety. It’s a bit too isolated.
“The 24-hour Tube makes it easier for working ‘graveyard’ shifts like nurses and cleaners who often have to get up really early.
“It’s not just for 24-year-olds who want to go out on ‘the lash’.”
Travelling with her was Isabel Hardy, also 24 and living in Brixton, who works at the West End head office of a Japanese restaurant chain.
Isabel explained: “Normally we wouldn’t go much further afield than Brixton because we couldn’t get home and the night bus is unreliable.
“It’s safer for women on the Underground because there are so many more people around and there’s more sense of ‘community’. You can get off at any station and still feel safe.”
The Night Tube showing the world that “London is open” is reckoned to boost the city’s economy by £77m a year, opening up its night-time economy to new opportunities.
Keeping Tally on the passenger volume at Bethnal Green was proud station “customer services” manager Dave Tilley, who had 200 passengers in the first 60 minutes of Night Tube yesterday coming up his escalator.
“I never expected people to take to Night Tube so much,” he told the East London Advertiser. “It has freed people to travel without worrying about getting home.”
Passengers kept coming up to him thanking TfL for keeping the trains running.
City Hall said the new service will help Londoners get to work or get home at night and particularly benefit those on shifts.
But there are no all-night trains on weekdays when most people are working. Night Tube is only Fridays and Saturdays, ending at dawn Sundays—when many shift workers are probably on their weekend anyway.