Sadiq Khan hints at night tube reopening
Calls to reinstate London’s night tube have been answered
Sadiq Khan has hinted that the night tube may return in the coming weeks in the aftermath of two horrific murders in London and as a petition to bring it back surpassed 80,000.
The London Mayor confirmed to JOE on Thursday that a long-awaited announcement on reinstating the night tube is due in the coming weeks: "TfL have been working incredibly hard to bring it back," he said. "I know from speaking to women and girls, it makes them feel safer."
A combination of a lack of revenue and a pitiful government bailout made the service economically unviable.
Reinstating the night tube will come as welcome news to the thousands that signed Ella Watson’s petition on change.org last week calling for its return.
“In the UK and London women and girls are unsafe on the streets, especially at night” wrote Ella. “This petition calls on the following men to take responsibility for women's public safety and reopen the night tube this winter : Mayor of London and Chair of TfL Sadiq Khan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Transport Commissioner Andy Byford and Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon Grant Shapps”.
Campaigners say reinstating the night tube is the first step to securing safe passage home for women on a night out and comes after the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.
Asked if Transport for London will provide British Transport Police to patrol the reopened service, Sadiq said they would need government support.
"We want the government to give us more support both in terms of MET service and BTP and TFL staff, I do not want to reduce staff on our underground, closing ticket offices like the previous mayor (Boris Johnson) did."
Last week Minister for London, Paul Scully, urged Khan to reinstate the night tube. Speaking to The Telegraph he said: “The Mayor needs to give people convenient, affordable choices about how to travel home safely at night. It’s not enough to talk tough on social media. Leadership in London requires action.”
In reply, Khan has said he thinks “Paul Scully should spend less time talking and more time listening to me".
He added: “Londoners want their ministers to work with their mayors. There will not be a national recovery without Londoner recovery, there will not be a London recovery without TfL
“You’d have thought the business minister would get that.”
The pandemic has been rough on TfL and reinstating the night tube requires intervention from central government. In June, it secured a £1.08bn funding package from the government, the third bailout since the start of the pandemic.
But it’s not enough: “We’ve been asking the government for a long-term financial plan,” says Sadiq, “unless we get one, I worry about our ability to provide the services we currently provide”.
The current deal runs out on December 11th.
TfL runs a substantial deficit, something Boris Johnson will know all about, having been Mayor of London. A TfL report published a month before Johnson left office showed TfL had a nominal £9.148bn of debt.
Last week, the Metropolitan Police issued guidance to women in fear of a police officer after former Met officer Wayne Couzens was jailed for life for murdering Everard.
It suggested women ''flag down a bus or run away".
Khan, whose father was a bus driver, told JOE the onus should not be on women and girls. "Women and girls don't feel safe because of the behaviour of men" he said. "Why isn't the Government talking more about what they're going to do to tackle the behaviour of men?"
Asked if he thought his father would have stopped to pick up a distressed woman, Khan said, "I like to think he would have done."