Trains will start running again on the night of Saturday 27 November, some 19 months after services were suspended because of the pandemic lockdown. Their return was delayed by negotiations with the RMT drivers union over new rosters.
However, the return of two lines will not assuage demands from businesses and campaigners who say it is “too little, too late”.
Transport for London said services on the other Night Tube routes – the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines – will return “as soon as practicable” but it is unlikely to be this year. The Central and Victoria lines were the busiest on the Night Tube network.
The services operates through the night on Fridays and Saturdays from around 12.30 am until normal day services start again early the next morning.
The Mayor said: “The reason why I was so keen to be the first Mayor in London’s history to start the Night Tube in 2016 and to restart it now, after the Covid pause, is because I know how important this is to London’s thriving night-time economy, to London’s recovery and to the confidence and safety of everyone travelling home at night, particularly women and girls. I am determined to make our city as safe as possible for all Londoners.
“That’s why I’m delighted to see the return of the Victoria and Central Night Tube lines next month, which will make a huge difference to people travelling around our city at night and making their way home, offering them an additional safe, reliable transport option. I will continue to work with TfL and the Government to do everything we can to bring back the full Night Tube network as soon as possible.”
Ridership on evening services at the weekend has recovered much more quickly than those during the Monday to Friday rush hours. Trains on Friday and Saturday nights are now regularly 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels compared with only 55 per cent during the week,
The resumption was welcomed by West End business leaders.
Ros Morgan, chief executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “This is a vital next step in helping to get footfall back into central London, ensuring crucial transport services for workers and visitors to safely and enjoyably benefit from the best of its world-leading night time economy.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of business group New West End Company, said: “The safety of our customers and 150,000 colleagues is of paramount importance, and the Night Tube offers a much missed alternative for travelling around London safely. We hope that the reopening of the network will give Londoners confidence to travel around the capital in a safe, low crime environment.”
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association said: “With a focus on vulnerability, and the safety of women at night, and thousands of night workers within London we must push to get the full service established at the earliest opportunity and open London’s late night economy fully to the public.
This week Nickie Aiken, the Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, revealed she had written to the Mayor demanding that all five lines reopen immediately “for the sake of women’s safety” and almost 140,000 people have signed a petition calling for the full reopening.
Simon Thomas, chief executive of the Hippodrome casino on Leicester Square, said : “You wait months for one night tube to arrive and only half the service turns up.”
“Business owners are working all hours to get the West End back on its feet and women travellers demand additional protection for their evening journeys. It’s time to listen to the people who live and work in the West End and reinstate the full night time tube service immediately.”