Posts Tagged ‘united kingdom’
Wired‘s Aarian Marshall asks why more cities don’t have all-night transit like London, and provides answers in a nice itemized list.
In London this week, a curious thing happened: A city gave its residents more public transit, not less. Welcome the Night Tube, London’s experiment in living a little. Two lines on the famed Underground are now running 24 hours a day, on Fridays and Saturdays. Two more lines will join the fun in the fall. The city’s transportation authority expects 100,000 extra riders each evening, and estimates the move will boost the local economy by $450 million.
Mobility! Rides home for sleepy workers after the bar closes, rides to work for the midnight shift! Cheesy songs! It’s enough to make any city jealous—not least Boston, which cut its weekend night service this spring, or Washington, DC, which is considering doing the same.
So why can Londoners get nighttime public transit service, and you can’t? Seven reasons.
No matter how sleepless your city is, ridership goes down at night. Fewer paying riders means spending more public money to subsidize each person’s trip. Boston officials said its now-cancelled night service cost $13.38 in subsidies per trip. Regular service? $1.43. Still, lots of important services cost the government serious money (keeping the roads smooth for cars, collecting garbage, healthcare…).
Paint chips, metal rusts, and many of America’s major transit systems are aging at a rapid clip. Cities say they need the time off for the maintenance that keeps everything running. (This is especially true on systems like the California Bay Area’s BART, which only has one set of tracks on each route.) Theoretically, the peace and quiet gives workers uninterrupted time to get their trains in order. In practice, though, a four-hour nightly shutdown can get eaten up by logistics, leaving workers with much less time for actual work. New York, which runs subways 24 hours , periodically shuts down sections of track for intensive repairs. It’s like ripping off a band aid.