Farewell, Night Bus. Reuters/Paul Hackett

All-night service will begin in September 2015, but it will be confined to the weekends and selected routes.

London is one of the world’s most vibrant cities, but nights out in the capital often take on a strange character. At many events, a big group of people will abruptly dash off all at once, just before midnight. London’s size and its sprawl means that getting anywhere quickly relies on the Underground network, or Tube, which shuts shortly after midnight from most central stations.

Those that keep the party going subject themselves to the whims of the city’s overloaded and inadequate overnight transport options. These revelers are subjected to the mind-bogglingly long and surreal journeys by the infamous Night Bus. Invariably, it will involve a transfer at Trafalgar Square, thronged with tired partiers picking at takeaway food and holding forth in semi-coherent, shouted conversations. After jostling to fit in a jammed bus, nocturnal commuters are often rewarded with someone falling asleep on their shoulder, and drooling.

After September 2015, however, it will be a different story. The Tube is going to run all night—although the change will be confined to weekends and selected routes.

(Transport for London)

From the small hours of September 12, two lines—the Jubilee and Victoria—will run a full service through to the next morning. Three more—the Northern, Piccadilly and Central—will run trains on parts of their lines.

It will change the character of the city. Transport for London (TfL), the capital’s transport authority, says that demand for Tube services has soared in the last ten years, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, when half a million people make journeys after 10 p.m. The new service will add £360 million ($570 million) to the economy over 30 years, according to a study (pdf) commissioned by TfL, which also found that London was falling behind other metropolises.

“London has never had an overnight underground service. In providing one, London will join New York, Chicago, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin and Sydney, which all offer night time metro services to differing extents,” the study said. Tokyo and Paris are both considering an equivalent service, they added.

Of course, not everyone is happy. London Underground operators will now be required to work all night. Drivers have recently voted to strike over pay conditions and the introduction of the new hours.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

A Brief Guide to the Fantastic, Wondrous Creatures of Tech Industry Jargon

The Story of the Invention That Could Revolutionize Batteries—and Maybe American Manufacturing as Well

Indonesian Lawmakers Want to Fight AIDS By Restricting Access to Condoms

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A cyclist rides past a closed Victoria Park in East London.
    Perspective

    The Power of Parks in a Pandemic

    For city residents, equitable access to local green space is more than a coronavirus-era amenity. It’s critical for physical, emotional, and mental health.

  2. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  3. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

  4. Perspective

    In a Pandemic, We're All 'Transit Dependent'

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  5. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

×