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London's Night Tube gets off to a smooth start with 50,000 passengers

Published 20/08/2016

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in front of a new Night Tube logo at Oxford Circus underground station, ahead of the launch of the Night Tube service in London.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in front of a new Night Tube logo at Oxford Circus underground station, ahead of the launch of the Night Tube service in London.

London's Night Tube got off to a smooth start with more than 50,000 travellers taking advantage of the first run of the service, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was on board the first Victoria line service in the early hours of Saturday morning, said you could feel "the buzz" and excitement as he met passengers.

Oxford Circus was one of the busiest stations, with 6,500 people tapping in, while 4,250 people tapped out at Stratford station, according to figures released by TfL.

Around 100 British Transport Police (BTP) officers are patrolling the network, which operates through the night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Superintendent Chris Horton, the officer responsible for policing the Underground, insisted there was "no reason" why passengers would not be as safe as during the day.

He said the force would focus on "being visible" and ensuring it was "able to intervene in places that are likely to see significant issues".

A spokeswoman for the force said it had been called to just four incidents on the first run of the Night Tube, which was "in line with what we would expect to see on a Friday night".

"At this stage we are not aware of any crimes being committed," she added.

All-night services also started on parts of the Central line, where previously some passengers had to get their last train before midnight, while t he Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines will follow in the autumn.

London Underground (LU) expects 50,000 people to use the Night Tube each weekend, rising to 200,000 once all five lines are open.

Mr Khan chatted to passengers using the first train, which departed from Brixton, south London at 12.34am w ith passengers ranging from boisterous revellers to calm groups and individuals.

"You're making history," he told one couple.

Speaking as the train made its way towards north London, Mr Khan told the Press Association: "You can feel the buzz, you can feel the vibe. People are really excited.

"What's important is we got the detail and the planning right. I'm really pleased that 100 days or so after becoming the mayor we've got that right."

Mr Khan's predecessor, Boris Johnson, announced in September 2014 that the service would begin on September 12 2015, b ut a bitter dispute with the rail unions delayed the project.

The driver of the first train said the service was "great for London" and insisted he would be able to adjust to working through the night.

Asked if he was concerned about feeling tired, Daniel George, 28, from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, said: "No, you change your sleeping pattern to work around that sort of thing."

He continued: "It's great for people not having to worry about the last train. It's a shame I have to be driving the train and not taking advantage of it but I know it's great for London."

A recent study by business membership organisation London First estimated the Night Tube could be worth £77 million each year to the capital's economy by 2029.

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