London Underground’s Night Tube will resume next month after being suspended in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Transport for London (TfL) said services on the Central and Victoria lines will run through the night on Fridays and Saturdays from Saturday November 27.
Tens of thousands of people signed a petition calling for the Night Tube to resume to help protect women and girls.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The reason why I was so keen to be the first mayor in London’s history to start the Night Tube in 2016, and to restart it now, after the Covid pause, is because I know how important this is to London’s thriving night-time economy, to London’s recovery and to the confidence and safety of everyone travelling home at night, particularly women and girls.
“I am determined to make our city as safe as possible for all Londoners.
“That’s why I’m delighted to see the return of the Victoria and Central Night Tube lines next month, which will make a huge difference to people travelling around our city at night and making their way home, offering them an additional safe, reliable transport option.
“I will continue to work with TfL and the Government to do everything we can to bring back the full Night Tube network as soon as possible.”
Ella Watson, who launched the petition, told the PA news agency: “It’s a great start to enhancing women’s safety when travelling home at night, but we need to ensure more lines reopen as soon as possible to improve women’s safety across the capital.
“The campaign is not over yet. The petition was set up to improve the safety of all women travelling home across the whole of London.
“Therefore, I would urge those who are disappointed by this announcement to continue signing/sharing the petition to increase pressure to reinstate more lines as soon as possible.”
TfL said the Central and Victoria lines were previously two of the busiest lines on the Night Tube network, providing connections between “large parts of London and the centre of the city”.
It went on: “Restoring night running on these lines will help businesses like bars, clubs and restaurants as London’s night-time economy continues to recover following the pandemic.”
NEW: Many Londoners have asked when the Night Tube is coming back. Today I'm delighted to confirm that, after a significant amount of hard work over many months by TfL, City Hall & trade unions, Victoria & Central Line services will resume on 27 November.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) October 14, 2021
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive at business group New West End Company, said: “West End businesses absolutely welcome the news that the Night Tube is returning, particularly ahead of our busy festive season when many businesses have later opening hours and we see a greater number of visitors at all hours across London.
“The safety of our customers and 150,000 colleagues is of paramount importance, and the Night Tube offers a much missed alternative for travelling around London safely.
“We hope that the reopening of the network will give Londoners confidence to travel around the capital in a safe, low-crime environment.”
TfL said the pandemic limited its ability to train new drivers, and it recently offered Night Tube drivers the opportunity to convert from their part-time roles to permanent full-time positions.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), said it is vital that TfL reaches an agreement with union reps on rosters which “don’t leave staff burnt out and exposed to intolerable pressures”.
He added: “We warned months ago that slashing 200 Night Tube train driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and London Underground need to start facing up to that reality.”
Mr Lynch also claimed that prior to its suspension, the Night Tube was “a magnet for violent, abusive and anti-social behaviour”.