To free up opportunities for Londoners, TfL are launching their new 24 hour weekend night tube on the 12th September 2015, running several London tube lines into the night and enabling Londoners and commuters to come in and out of the city at any-time on weekends. I looked at the general public's opinion on the night tube, how it might affect them and the potential pitfalls of the night tube, underlying the recent rail strike plans coming up towards the end of this month.
The response I got from the public was generally favourable, with the majority supporting the plans. "It means no hassle" said a commuter, "it means that we don't have to wait for a night bus for 30 minutes." One commuter highlighted that:
"It would be very helpful for the vulnerable, the single ladies wanting to get home, they won't have to go in any illegal cabs, so it is a good safety measure."
Although the night tube has been met with such acclaim from the public, many tube and rail workers are feeling the squeeze. With network rail's plans to cut jobs and pay rates, union bosses have fought against the government's proposals to ban rail workers strikes, demanding a renewed offer to protect pay, jobs and safety.
Indeed many tube and rail workers in recent times have also had to put up with a variety of nuisances from the general public on a day to day basis, with many suffering abuse ranging from spitting to actual physical assault for their services. From these incidents you feel that many tube workers would reel away from having to cater for the drunk and disorderly, when their own day to day experiences with members of the public are not always savoury.
Yet, as one commuter said, despite the longer hours, the opening of the night tube should "free up more jobs for people, with the longer time span, allowing workers to fill in for tiredness." The night tube can only help to boost the economy in continuing to create opportunities for paid work and bringing in crucial revenue to the Capital.
The opening of the new pop-up cinema at a disused underground station in Charing Cross, also offers a glimpse of what's to come, screening classic films including Breakfast at Tiffany's and Some Like it Hot amongst others from May 29-31, giving Londoners the chance to savour in the cinematic night time experience and highlight the possibilities that the night tube will bring.
Gareth Powell, director of strategy and service development at TfL has said:
"The introduction of the night tube is a historic step in our modernisation of the underground and a real 'first' for the underground."
Kevin Dunning, director of asset and ops support at TfL said:
"At the end of the day we are here to serve Londoners and we want it to be a first class city, and we're here to support that."
In my personal opinion I would agree that the night tube will be a positive thing, but rail workers and union bosses will ultimately have the final say and with the strike plans set to go ahead this coming bank holiday on Monday May 25th and last for 48 hours, the future does not look too rosy for our transport systems unless the RMT Union and our government can come to an agreement.
Watch my feature on TfL's 'Free the Night Exhibition' exhibited in Westminster Station, broadcast online @London_360 on @ComChanTV https://youtu.be/iT_2WBmWMDc