Underground services will run 30 minutes later on Fridays and Saturdays, but will start an hour later on Saturday mornings from late May 2007
Underground services currently never run between 0030 and 0530 to allow time for essential maintenance work to take place. London's Underground network is the oldest in the world and needs a significant amount of maintenance just to keep it in its existing state. It also does not benefit from quadruple tracks (except in a couple of places) like some cities (e.g. New York), where at night one pair can be closed for maintenance whilst trains carry on running on the other pair.
However, to cater for later travellers on Friday and Saturday nights, following a double consultation, evening services will be extended by half an hour - leaving central London at about 0100. The two half-hours of engineering works lost will take place on Saturday mornings instead, with Saturday morning services beginning an hour later (trains arriving in the centre at about 0700). Sunday morning services will remain unchanced.
According to preliminary research by TfL, about 140,000 passengers would use later Tube services whereas about 55,000 use early morning weekend services, half of whom use them to get to work. 54,000 people responded to the consultation, of which the majority were in favour of the current plan.
From late May 2007, the Tube will run half an hour later on Friday and Saturday evenings (trains leaving central London at around 0100 instead of 0030), whilst starting an hour later on Saturday mornings (trains arriving in central London from around 0700).
Following the response to the previous consultation about running the Underground an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights but delaying the start of service the following morning, a new consultation has been launched asking for views on services running half an hour later on those nights but starting an hour later on Saturday mornings and retaining current start times on Sundays. The alterations are aimed at those working in central London on Sundays who would have had difficulty reaching work under the previous proposals.
73% of respondents to Transport for London's largest ever public consultation were in favour of later-running services on the Tube. The proposals by London Underground are for Tube services to run an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays, with services therefore starting an hour later the following morning. However, major concerns were raised from the consultation over the ability of workers to get to morning jobs, and problems for people trying to get to morning flights at Heathrow airport.
Early indications show that largest-ever public response to a TfL consultation has a majority in favour of later-running Tube services. However, the LTUC are concerned that the proposals would seriously disadvantage those travelling to work or the airports in the early morning.
BAA and British Airways are opposing the mooted later running of Underground services on Fridays and Saturdays as it would mean a later start to services on Saturday and Sunday, making it difficult for some of their staff to reach Heathrow when working on early shifts.
In the first 48 hours, 20,000 people have already responded to TfL's consultation on extending evening Tube services by an hour on Fridays and Saturdays by delaying the start of service the following morning.
Consultation begins on Tuesday on plans to extend Tube opening hours on Friday and Saturday nights to around 0130, by delaying the start of the morning service by an hour to give the same amount of time for engineering work.
The Mayor will consult on plans to extend Friday and Saturday night tube services by an hour to about 0130, by delaying the start of service the next morning by an hour.
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