London 24 hour weekend Underground service launches tonight
Tom Toles, editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, cartoon on the proposal to cut Metrorail weekend service hours.
In "Night and weekend transit/subway service: Metrorail edition," we discussed the suggestion by WMATA's general manager to close Metrorail earlier on weekends, to provide more time for maintenance.
After I wrote that piece, I came across discussion of the same issues in San Francisco, where under the auspices of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, the local jurisdictions have organized a "Late Night Transit Working Group" and they are working to provide coordinated 24-hour transit service throughout the San Francisco Bay region. See "Slight revisiting of the issue of overnight transit service: San Francisco."
Metro-Land was a real estate promotion guidebook produced by the Metropolitan Railway of Greater London to promote living in the various housing developments served by the line.
"Metro-Land' is the term coined by the Met to refer to the new suburbs that grew in northwest London as a direct result of the developing railway line."
A past entry, "DC as "Metro-Land" vs. constrained transit planning," discusses transit as a conveyance for commuters versus an enabler of sustainable mobility and urbanity.
The Metrorail proposal for service cutbacks raises the issue of the need and demand for 24-hour transit service and the fact that there isn't a metropolitan scale plan for such.
As mentioned in the first two pieces cited above, after a few years of planning, the London Underground is introducing 24-hour weekend service on some lines, with plans to extend this service to other lines. The intent was to start this program last year, but it took more than one year to negotiate an agreement with the labor unions to be able to launch the service.
Anyway, the service launches tonight.
-- "London’s Night Tube is finally open; here’s everything you need to know," Lonely Planet
-- "London's 24-hour Tube = $101 million economic boost," CNN
-- "London gets a 24-hour Tube at last," The Economist
-- "Night Tube to drive up London house prices near late-night lines," Independent
-- "Night Tube: London's best clubs, bars and restaurants open long after midnight," Independent
-- "Here are four ways London will benefit from the night tube," City A.M.
-- "London's night-time economy could be worth £43bn and an extra 115,000 jobs," City A.M.
-- "Night Tube finally arrives today: Here's everything we know," City A.M.
-- "RMT union backs Night Tube - and its members - after having striked on pay," City A.M.
-- "Countdown to a non-stop capital: London goes 24-hour," Guardian
IT HAS taken an age to leave the platform, but on August 20th, shortly after midnight, London’s first night-time Tube train will at last pull out of Brixton station. So after years of dithering, the city will catch up with the likes of New York, Sydney and Berlin, with a 24-hour service on the Underground.Recommendations for Night Transit Service in the DC Metropolitan area:
Initially, London’s effort will be limited to just two of its 11 Tube lines, and only on the weekends. Eventually five lines will stay up all night, with trains running about every ten minutes. Businesses and London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, argue that the night-time Tube will give a welcome boost to an economy still anxious about the consequences of Brexit.
It should be a boon to shift-workers and clubbers alike. According to research undertaken for London First, a lobby group, 723,000 people work nights in London. Many are in relatively low-paid jobs, such as catering and nursing, and face long journeys home to the suburbs. Until now they have had to rely on night buses, usage of which has increased by 170% since 2000. Transport for London, which runs the Tube, expects to carry another 200,000 people per night when the new service is fully up and running, on top of the half-million who already use the Tube after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
(New recommendation #6)
1. If Metrorail cuts back weekend hours, the WMATA transit agency should create a companion night owl bus service.
2. WMATA should create a Night Owl bus service along the route of the Metrorail system anyway. The proposed cutback on Metrorail hours should be the impetus for the creation of a system of overnight bus service for the metropolitan area.
[The study for extending overnight weekend service for the London Underground predicts that the average trip will be from 20 minutes to one hour faster compared to other modes.]
3. Overnight service within the suburban jurisdictions would have to be provided, complementing the metropolitan-scale overnight bus service paralleling the Metrorail station network.
4. The overnight bus routes parallelling the Metrorail network should allow "flag stops" so that riders can get off the bus between Metrorail stations, so that they can alight closer to their final destination.
5. WMATA should provide Night Owl bus services for the region's airports, operating when Metrorail service is unavailable to National Airport and Dulles, and later than the current B30 service to BWI Airport, which ends between 10 pm and 11 pm most nights. This service could be staged from Union Station.
6. The Transportation Policy Board should create a Late Night Transportation Working Group to coordinate late night transit planning across the metropolitan area and across jurisdictional borders. A combined map of late night transit services should be created.
Note that this is a matter of network breadth, depth, level of service, and level of quality, and as I have discussed in "Without the right transportation planning framework, metropolitan areas are screwed, and that includes the DC area," this should be planned at the metropolitan scale, by the metropolitan planning organization, independent of transit operators.
Adding night bus service to complement the Night Tube. Note that Transport for London, planning integratively, is adding new bus routes to complement the new Night Tube service, "Night Tube service: Eight new night bus routes to launch to coincide with 24-hour Underground start date," London Evening Standard. Although they are adjusting current night bus services in response, and could cut services going forward depending on how much ridership shifts to the Tube.
Security. More transit police will be added to provide coverage for overnight service hours also ("London's night tube to get 100 extra police as 24-hour service begins," Guardian).
Both are examples of planning broadly for most elements of service expansion, rather than responding after the fact.