Published: 27th November 2013
London’s Underground is set to run continuously from Friday mornings to midnight on Sundays without a break from 2015 Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and the Managing Director of London Underground, (LU), Mike Brown have announced.
The 24-hour 'Night Tube' service at weekends will make more staff available at stations to help customers buy the right ticket, important as the plan includes closing ticket offices. The 'Night Tube' project has been made possible as significant parts of the underground network have been modernised following years of weekend line closures.
The all night weekend services will operate over the central core parts of the system starting with the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines and parts of the Northern line before being extended to a larger area.
Less and less tickets are being sold by ticket offices with under three per cent of Tube journeys involving a visit to a ticket office. So ticket selling staff will not be behind a screen as now in a booking office, but located in ticket halls and on platforms to offer face-to-face service to passengers.
All Tube stations will continue to be staffed with more staff visible and available than today with staff equipped with the latest mobile technology, such as tablet computers.
LU says that more and better ticket machines will be provided including quicker and easier refunds by Tube staff, at ticket machines or online automatically completing journeys when customers forget to swipe out.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: 'For 150 years the Tube has been the beating heart of London, its tunnels and tracks providing the arteries that have transported millions of people and helped to drive the development and economic growth of our great city.
'Now it is time to take the Tube to the next level and so for the first time in London's history, we will provide a regular 24-hour 'Night Tube' service at weekends.
'This will not just boost jobs and our vibrant night-time economy, it will further cement London's reputation as the best big city on the planet to in which to live, work, visit and invest.'
Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground, said: 'People are at the heart of this vision - our customers and staff. 'My commitment to London is that all Tube stations will continue to be staffed and controlled in future, with more staff visible and available to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journey and keep them safe and secure. 'We will continue to make the Tube more accessible and provide assistance at stations for all our customers who need it.
'Rebuilt stations, new trains and signalling systems mean we are now running some of the most frequent metro services anywhere in Europe. 'To meet the challenge of London's growing population and development, we must continue to invest and deliver even more efficiently in future.
'Our vision is for a Tube network and service that is truly fit for London and our customers in the 21st century - a better face-to-face service at our stations, a 24-hour service at weekends, with easier and more personalised ways to plan and pay for journeys, on and off our network.'
Improvements to make journeys easier and more convenient for customers include:
Station staff will be given better training and technology and using mobile devices, will be able to give up-to-the-minute information on ticketing, train services and the local area so they can help customers on the spot.
Stations will be designated into four categories when the all night running commences.
Gateway stations will be the main visitor entry points to London, with a high proportion of people unfamiliar with the Tube network using them such as at Euston, Heathrow, King's Cross St. Pancras, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Victoria will have enhanced and redeveloped Visitor Information Centres to ensure tourists and visitors are welcomed and offered the best possible service says TfL. There will be 30 per cent more staff in ticket halls than today, and an increase in overall ticket selling capacity of 33 per cent.
Destination stations in Central London attract huge quantities of leisure and commuter passengers such as at tourist destinations like Bank, Embankment, Leicester Square and Oxford Circus. These stations will also have 30 per cent more staff in the ticket hall than today.
Metro stations will serve mainly inner London communities with mostly regular users as at Clapham South and Mile End and they will have customer service staff with the latest mobile technology permanently located in ticket halls.
Local Stations are the smaller stations, predominantly in Outer London or at the extremities of the network and are mainly used by regular customers, such as Rickmansworth and East Putney. They will have staff in ticket halls providing help to customers if required.
A full safety risk assessment will be undertaken for every station affected looking at the level of staffing required for continued safe operation and evacuation if needed to maintain LU's excellent safety record.
Proposed staffing levels have been given to Trade Unions and LU staff for consultation and as they stand now, would mean a net reduction of around 750 posts out of 18,000 staff of which there are 5,500 station staff. LU says it is not envisaged that there will be any compulsory redundancies and when implemented, around £50m per annum will be saved.
Last year, London Underground carried over 1.2 billion customers with over 4.5 million on the busiest days alone and LU says that delays to passengers have reduced by 40 per cent since 2008/09 and 54 per cent since 2003 and operating costs reduced by 23% since 2009.