Ride the Tube at 3 a.m.
August 20, 2016 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Joining such cities and Berlin, Copenhagen, and — of course — New York, London inaugurates 24-hour Tube service (weekends only, limited lines).
posted by dame (43 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Citizens! Take the n I g h t t u b e without fear! Do not bring weapons.
posted by The Whelk at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


wait what? It didn't run 24 hours before? I'm bewildered.

Also:
The aptly named Victoria from Brixton was unconvinced it really counted as the Victoria line night tube yet, as a train ran at this time every evening. She began asking people how they felt about being on the “almost night tube”.

“I’m a fucking pest on the tube. People either love it or hate it, but I’m always asking who are you, where are you going, what are you doing.”
You poor, sweet Briton. Please don't ever do this if you visit Chicago.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


I'm bewildered.

Her Majesty wanted to protect her subjects from the dangers of night life and that's why I had to take my (equally bewildered) German friend to the hotel for drinks after we were booted from the pub in the early afternoon like everyone else and we had to take the cab. Because, you know, leaving the tube running would promote the night life. Which is dangerous.
posted by hat_eater at 11:33 AM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Spare a thought for the London Underground's ghost population. Where are they going to slink off to now?
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Very few metro systems run 24 hours. This is not as big as it sounds, as it is only weekends. To really be useful, they need to run it on weeknights to support graveyard and swing shift workers more effectively.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Pubs stopped having to close in the afternoons at least twenty years ago, and more recently it has become possible to get late night licences to two or three AM. And in any case, in the days when I knew which doors in the Soho backstreets to knock on to get to the illicit drinking dens (Hanway Place had two, plus if you got on the right side of Helen at Troy's you had another option) the night buses did fine. But I would have preferred the tube to be running, even if when I was in my drinking prime, the first tube in the morning was usually appropriate.

It's particularly nice to be on a 6AM tube in a dinner jacket (tux, y'all). It speaks of elegant dissipation.
posted by Devonian at 11:47 AM on August 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


Apparently the night tube is unrelated to Night Vale. Anyone who needs further clarification may request it by whispering their questions into the plastered-over station walls where ticket windows once stood.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:50 AM on August 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I always thought the A train stopped in London, just before Far Rockaway.
posted by jonmc at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


For a minute I was thinking that London was to join the underground systems of Berlin, Copenhagen and New York, and that a trip would last 24 hours, but no such luck.
posted by Namlit at 1:11 PM on August 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


There used to be (maybe still are) night busses, but they were less of a transportation option than an opportunity for entertainment/reflex testing/reflection on why you were where you were (at that moment and in general).
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:07 PM on August 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Night buses are not so much a method of transportation as mobile centers for the questioning of one's life choices.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:17 PM on August 20, 2016 [34 favorites]


Pubs stopped having to close in the afternoons at least twenty years ago

It was in April 1994. My first time in London. I was young, and everything was wonderful - taking the shortcut through the City completely devoid of life at half past six, with empty McDonald's the only island of light, inadvertently pissing off an Beefeater, getting lost in small lanes near Piccadilly Circus, returning late to my random hotel at Ealing Common on aching feet, escaping from British Museum like a moth from flame, asking people in a pub if I may join them at their table, because I wanted to talk so much, and riding the tube absolutely everywhere, and loving it, not just for the convenience but for its character, history, the role in Blitz. And finding out that pubs close at I think half past ten was also part of it, and the last orders, and depth charges, and getting stranded at Earls Court station because the tube gets closed for the night, and having no idea what to do now, and the cab that saves the day, or rather night, and getting wasted in a hotel bar with a police chief from Bavaria I met in the pub.

Making the tube run in the night will make part of my story history, but it's a very sensible change.
posted by hat_eater at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Don't forget Chicago! On the Red and Blue lines.

I'm always surprised when I travel at cities that don't have major lines running 24/7. To me that is part of what makes it a world class city.
posted by sbutler at 2:40 PM on August 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


You poor, sweet Briton. Please don't ever do this if you visit Chicago

Never fear. She was just being a chatty drunk. Do that during the day in London and you get shut down so fast. And heh, Chicago is so chatty and friendly compared to London.

I thought the reason they don't run all night was so maintenance work could be done. In NYC I remember multiple tracks and room for workers. In London they run on single tracks in tunnels barely wider than the trains.

Alas, it wouldn't have helped me as I got the overground and so had an epic night bus rides. Yes, an opportunity to reflect on life choices. Or to fall asleep on random seat mate's shoulders. Oops.
posted by kitten magic at 3:27 PM on August 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hmm, my questioning of life choices in London was greatest the time I was *not* on the night bus. Because I had managed to miss it, you see.
posted by nat at 3:55 PM on August 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I took a night bus once. It was one too many times.
posted by Automocar at 4:27 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Looking at the map and description of service, I am pleasantly and jealously shocked. The overnight, weekend service on the Jubilee Line (10 minute headways at 3 in the morning) are the same or slightly better than most of the during-the-day, weekday service on Seattle's only light rail route.
posted by fireoyster at 5:37 PM on August 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


brevs whose up for a cheeky nandos i just topped up my mobile and the m8s are already on the banterbus
posted by gucci mane at 6:18 PM on August 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


brevs whose up for a cheeky nandos i just topped up my mobile and the m8s are already on the banterbus

u wot?
posted by dhens at 6:48 PM on August 20, 2016


Come on, Tokyo. Please?
posted by rokusan at 7:22 PM on August 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Every ride on a night bus left me thinking that my life choices were very fine indeed.
Next time I'm back I'll be sure to ride a Night Tube, though, just as token recompense for hundreds of over-priced dodgy cab rides home in the small hours.
posted by Kreiger at 8:36 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Philadelphia, too. Just weekends, but even that is pretty great.
posted by desuetude at 9:34 PM on August 20, 2016


It has always been a serious problem in the bay area that the BART shuts down at midnight as getting back over the bridge at night is an expensive option.
posted by boilermonster at 11:08 PM on August 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


A quirk of the way the bus lines are set up in Toronto means that I can take one bus direct almost to my door at 3 or 4am when the same trip would require a transfer and involve both a subway and a bus during the day, so I'm pretty cool with my choices on night buses when I manage to catch one.
posted by rodlymight at 11:23 PM on August 20, 2016


List of cities in the world with 24 hour metro rail service (subway AND/OR surface commuter rail, including very limited lines)

It's very very very few cities. NYC is far ahead of anyone else for 24/7, except perhaps Copenhagen.
Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul are subway runner-ups.

London already had a couple of 24/7 and 24/6 commuter rail services established before Night Tube.
posted by Bwithh at 11:34 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]




Come on, Tokyo. Please?

Haven't been back in a while, but the problem there is the same companies that own the trains own the taxis, and the taxis charge like 20-30% over surcharges after 11pm. I had many a nights "taking a cab halfway" and walking another mile or two.
posted by lkc at 1:50 AM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


People either love it or hate it, but I’m always asking who are you, where are you going

There's no way she grew up in London.
posted by Coda Tronca at 2:13 AM on August 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Melbourne trains (all lines)/trams (6 major lines) went 24-hours on Fri/Sat night at the start of this year. I don't have a lot of call for it, but it's nice not to have to run off just before 1am to get the last service.

I was a bit shocked that London didn't already have this; I assumed it was like the subway in New York, 24/7.
posted by crossoverman at 3:15 AM on August 21, 2016


Philadelphia, too. Just weekends, but even that is pretty great.

It's been a real godsend for me. I hate waiting for buses on street corners
posted by james33 at 3:30 AM on August 21, 2016


WHY does the red line BART shut down early?! I would think that Downtown Berkeley is one of its most profitable stations.
posted by brujita at 4:57 AM on August 21, 2016


I would think that Downtown Berkeley is one of its most profitable stations.

Because of Cal students going into the city? IME Cal students think the world ends at MLK.
posted by asterix at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2016


In addition to UCB there are movie theaters, excellent restaurants and interesting shops nearby .
posted by brujita at 12:03 PM on August 21, 2016


Really looking forward to the first time I anxiously check the last tube times, wishing I could hang out a bit longer, then suddenly realise I can. On the other hand, now I can never again pretend to check the last tube times and rush off with an excuse.

I am slightly nervous about the prospect of crowded platforms of 3am-drunk Londoners though.
posted by lucidium at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wish we had service like this in Montreal. Our metro is so integral to getting around town and yet it shuts down at 1. I used to work the night shift and taking the bus back (with reduced service itself) early morning was very unfun.
posted by constantinescharity at 1:42 PM on August 21, 2016


Her Majesty wanted to protect her subjects from the dangers of night life

There's only one functioning democracy where the head of state has this level of control over government policy. If you're not British, kindly pipe down when you get the urge to joke about the UK constitution.
posted by ambrosen at 6:38 AM on August 22, 2016


If you're not British, kindly pipe down when you get the urge to joke about the UK constitution.

I politely refuse.

Besides, I'm repeating what I've been told by (presumably) Britons I asked about the peculiar custom of closing the pubs so early.
posted by hat_eater at 8:10 PM on August 22, 2016


You don't need to repeat what some people told you well over a decade ago (or, if not over a decade ago, wildly inaccurate about facts as well as motives). There's plenty of Brits here who are all perfectly capable of nuanced explanation of why the licensing laws for England and Wales were a mess until 2005. I'd be deleted in short order if I were to jump into US based threads* snarking about the 2nd Amendment in a situation where it was peripherally relevant. Rightly so, because it's tedious, and hostile to Americans.

And London night culture has very little to do with the scheduling and project management issues around running the tube through the night. Engineering-wise, it is a very different system to New York's, the only large old system that's 24 hours, and the geography's a lot more complex. Not to mention that I think the London system's in much better order than the New York one, at least partly because of overnight maintenance.

*not assuming you're a US national, it's just a sensible example, although that's a strong expectation, given the apparently native English, the demographics of the site, and the implication that Brenda's not your head of state.
posted by ambrosen at 6:45 AM on August 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's plenty of Brits here who are all perfectly capable of nuanced explanation

And if they exercised this capability, perhaps my irreverent explanation wouldn't have been scrutinized so closely. I regret now not framing it explicitly as a joke I was told once, I never took it seriously myself, and I know that the times when your monarch wielded such power are long gone.

But, you know, telling me to shut up about things I don't know much about was harsh. I don't yearn for my lurking days.
posted by hat_eater at 9:54 AM on August 23, 2016


Of course I recognised it as a joke. It's still an insulting joke. And being treated as a guest in these threads is a pretty strong disincentive to commenting, speaking as a Brit.
posted by ambrosen at 10:39 AM on August 23, 2016


I'm sorry. I have never given this issue much thought, and now that I did, I see that this joke can be indeed considered insulting. And while I believe that insulting jokes have their role in the cultural ecosystem, I personally do not enjoy telling them.

And speaking as a Pole, I sometimes feel similar disincentive, but also increased motivation, to engage in threads concerning my country. Although as my culture is far less widely known than yours, I'm happy that there are people who know enough about it to maintain a meaningful conversation.
posted by hat_eater at 12:24 PM on August 23, 2016


Sorry, it actually does feel very different coming from someone who isn't American*, so if I'd known you weren't, I'd probably have let it slide totally (I did check your location, and assumed you were a US expat in Poland). Please accept my apologies.

*Because this site's not great at the whole "OK, this affects 10% of our users, we should leave them to discuss it at their level and 80% can stay active in the threads that affect their country", and obviously it's different when you're part of the 10% that don't have threads about their country.
posted by ambrosen at 3:01 AM on August 24, 2016


ambrosen, could you perhaps explain why the licensing laws in the UK were a mess until 2005?
posted by crossoverman at 2:35 AM on August 25, 2016


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