Opinion

London’s night-time economy should be jubilant over the Jubilee Line

4 min read

06 October 2016

Former special projects journalist

The night tube has been hailed as the saviour of London’s night-time economy, and this week sees the launch of the Jubilee Line night tube. Can businesses from Stanmore to Stratford expect to benefit?

The night tube has been hailed as the saviour of London’s night-time economy, and this week sees the launch of the Jubilee Line night tube. Can businesses from Stanmore to Stratford expect to benefit?

The Jubilee line is close to the O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium, and also services other major stations such as Waterloo, London Bridge and Canary Wharf.

Chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Colin Stanbridge said: “The night tube has been a great success so far and the introduction of an all-night tube at weekends is particularly significant for the Jubilee Line because of all the major employers and venues along the line.

“Concert goers at late running shows at the O2 will no longer have a mad dash for the last tube home and it could present at opportunity for sites such as the Westfield and Wembley to explore alternative opening hours.”

The night tube has only been running on the Victoria and Central Lines since August this year, so at this point it is hard to gauge the long-term economic impact – but some businesses have already seen increased activity.

Online booking platform Bookatable has credited the night tube service with a 21 per cent jump in late night restaurant bookings – that is, tables booked at 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights this August compared to August 2015.

Apparently, bookings between 9pm and 11.59pm have increased by 15 per cent with an overall 13 per cent increase on these days, buoyed by revelers who are now assured an easy journey home.

Joe Steele, CEO of Bookatable, is encouraged by the results, reported The Caterer, and understandably so.

“Despite the delayed start, the Night Tube is proving to help bolster the economy, particularly the restaurant trade, by giving consumers more accessibility to explore the diverse restaurant scene London offers,” he said.

“An increase in bookings in August this year proves that there is an appetite for late night dining in the capital, and we’re excited by the mayor’s plans to run more underground tube lines through the night and give more restaurants the opportunity to cater to this growing demand.”

A 2014 report entitled “Impact of the Night Tube on London’s Night-Time Economy” prepared by Volterra Partners for TfL and London First predicted that the scheme would make “London a more attractive place to live, work and visit – so that more people and businesses locate and invest here, and more tourists visit and spend money”.

“Tourism was worth £16bn to London in 2013 and for every £1 spent in London by a tourist, 78p is spent by an overseas visitor. Even if the Night Tube only has a marginal effect in retaining London’s position as a top destination then this is beneficial.”

In providing an overnight underground service, the report said, London joins the ranks of New York, Chicago, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin and Sydney – all off which offer night time metro services to some extent.

Later this year, the Northern and Piccadilly Lines are expected to be added to the night time service. All that remains is to see which businesses make the most of this new opportunity.