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London pubs back proposals for extended Tube service at weekends

By Adam Pescod , 31-Jan-2013
Last updated on 01-Feb-2013 at 16:21 GMT2013-02-01T16:21:32Z

London pubs back proposals for extended Tube service at weekends

London publicans have backed Transport for London’s (TfL) proposals to extend Tube services until 2am on a Friday and Saturday night from 2015, with some suggesting they may look at longer opening hours.

It is understood that TfL has fast-tracked the proposals following the success of the Olympics when the Tube was open an hour longer, and it hopes the move will create a welcome boost for the late-night economy in the capital.

Ian Bane, deputy manager of the Old Red Cow in Smithfield, said longer tube hours would be “fantastic” for the pub trade in London.

“It will be a lot easier for customers to come in and out and it will be lovely for the staff to get home nice and early by jumping on the Tube instead of having to get a night bus.”

Asked whether the pub would consider extending its opening hours, Bane said “we would have to see how it (longer tube service) will affect footfall in the area.”

Joe Curran of the Queen’s Head in Piccadilly also suggested he may apply for later hours should the proposals go ahead.

“We currently don’t have a late licence, nor have we applied for one. However, we may apply for one after this. We are at the bottom-end of Westminster which has been known as a red zone for late licences, they don’t let many through. We may look into it in a couple of years though.”

However, Tracey Bird, of the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia, said the Underground “should be 24/7 throughout London” as it is in the majority of other major cities. She added that there was “no chance” of extending her opening hours as it wouldn’t be accepted by Westminster City Council.

Bridget Walsh of the Harp in Covent Garden added that she “certainly” wouldn’t look to apply for a later alcohol licence should the Tube’s operating hours be extended. She said the Harp “wasn’t that type of pub” and so did not anticipate any impact on her business from an extended Tube service.

Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director for the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), said: "We welcome TfL’s proposals to run London Underground services later on Friday and Saturday nights, from 2015.  This proposed change would provide a welcome boost for the night time economy in London, providing safe and affordable transport home for our customers and staff later into the night. 

 “The GLA estimates that the night time economy in London generates a net benefit of £1.3-£1.7 billion per annum*, and running the Tube later would increase these economic benefits to London’s licensed premises and the economy as a whole.  We look forward to working with interested parties as appropriate to see these plans progress.”