Sadiq Khan ‘putting women’s safety at risk’ by keeping Night Tube shut – Telegraph.co.uk

Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, has been accused of putting women’s safety at risk by keeping the Night Tube closed for months.

Ministers have urged Mr Khan to reintroduce the service in the aftermath of the murder of Sarah Everard so women can get home safely, with pressure growing for the service to resume before scheduled to do so in 2022.

Paul Scully, the minister for London, told The Telegraph: “The Mayor needs to give people convenient, affordable choices about how to travel home safely at night. It’s not enough to talk tough on social media – leadership in London requires action. 

“A well-lit Night Tube with support from staff and the British Transport Police gives women a safe, rapid route home from events. We need this service reintroducing ASAP which will create demand; improve safety and in turn support the recovery of London’s night time economy.”

Caroline Nokes MP, who chairs the women and equalities select committee said the failure to reopen the service was a “huge mistake” that “puts women at more risk”.

She said: “I would like to know what the Met Police will be doing to keep women, especially women, safe. As the nights have got darker and as we move towards the Christmas period, you can expect more people will be out celebrating and wanting to find a safe way home.”

Ms Nokes added that that the “worrying” decision placed a financial burden on women.

Uber fares spike amid driver shortage

It comes as Uber fares have spiked amid a shortage of drivers and soaring demand. 

A petition has been launched to bring back the Night Tube as Mr Khan’s claims that there was “no demand” for the service were criticised on social media.

One user wrote: “How is the Night Tube still not running? Not only is there a fuel crisis, but Uber gave up on London a few weeks ago and is charging £30 for 20-minute journeys. London is such a dangerous place for women – do something about it before even more lives are lost, Sadiq Khan and Transport for London.”

However, one transport insider said there had been a “clear increase” in weekend demand for the TfL network following the reopening of night-time hospitality. The Night Tube, which closed in March last year as the pandemic hit, had previously run throughout Friday and Saturday nights.

Discussions with transport unions to allocate Night Tube shifts to day tube drivers to enable the service to return are ongoing. The source added that a “staggered return” for the Night Tube appeared likely, with busier lines returning to service before others. 

‘We want to reopen the Night Tube as quickly as possible’

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: “Sadiq is committed to taking action to improve safety for women in the capital and has been clear he wants to open the Night Tube as quickly as possible. He has urged TfL to look into the feasibility of getting one or two lines reopened this year, which we hope will be possible.

“TfL continues to run as close to a full service as possible across all their services, and the Tube continues to serve central London with last trains leaving around 01:00 and starting again at 05:30. There is also an extensive night bus network that continues to operate across the city every night.”

Andy Lord, the managing director of London Underground, said: “Ensuring women and girls can travel safely on London’s public transport networks is an absolute priority for us. We want to reopen the Night Tube as quickly as possible, but the pandemic limited our ability to train drivers and we have had to deploy available drivers to maintain a reliable service during the daytime across the week.

“We are continuing to review how we might be able to reintroduce the full Friday and Saturday Night Tube in a safe and viable way as soon as possible.”

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