A petition to reopen the Night Tube before winter to improve women’s safety in London has hit 125,000 signatures.
The Night Tube closed on 20 March 2020 ahead of the first national lockdown and has since remained shut throughout many levels of Covid-19 restrictions.
Now, thousands of Londoners are calling for its return.
The petition on Change.org was organised by 26-year-old Ella Watson from Nottingham, who has lived in London for the last three years.
She currently lives in Brixton, very close to where Sarah Everard went missing on 3 March 2021.
Watson told South West Londoner: “Women and girls in London feel like they have to constantly check on their friends to make sure they’ve got home. This has been intensified by the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.
“It has had a big impact on me and my friends, and a lot of young professionals who live in the area.
“It’s shocking that murders of young women still happen – it demonstrates how prevalent misogyny and violence against women still is in society and more needs to be done to change that.”
The petition cites data from UN Women UK which shows that more than 70% of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public.
As well as demanding systemic change, Watson specifically called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Transport Commissioner Andy Byford and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to take action.
Watson said: “I would like to say directly to TfL and Sadiq Khan, look how many people have signed the petition.
“Sadiq Khan needs to take action because of how many people can relate to this issue. He has the power to really benefit women.”
Speaking to LBC last Thursday, Khan suggested there will be an announcement on the reopening of the Night Tube in the next few weeks.
Andy Lord, managing director of London Underground, said: “Ensuring women and girls can travel safely on London’s public transport networks is an absolute priority for us.
“We want to reopen the Night Tube as quickly as possible but the pandemic limited our ability to train new drivers and we have had to deploy those available to maintain a reliable service during the daytime across the week.”
Crime on London’s public transport networks has increased in recent years.
In 2019/20, there were 40,864 offences on TfL’s public transport networks, up by 17.4 per cent compared with 2018/19.
“We are continuing to review how we might be able to reintroduce the full Friday and Saturday Night Tube in a safe and viable way as soon as possible,” Lord said.
“We are exploring the feasibility of reintroducing some services on one or two lines more quickly.
“Our extensive night bus network continues to operate, and our licensed and regulated taxis and private hire vehicles provide door to door transport around the clock.”
Watson believes that despite this, the Night Tube is still the best option for women to get home safely.
She said: “If you take buses you have to stand at the bus stop, waiting in the dark on the street.
“The Night Tube is not perfect and I do want to recognise that.
“But it is well lit and very efficient, meaning you can get home quickly. It seems like the safest option.”