24-hour Tube predicted to have knock-on effect on travel
The announcement that London is to get a 24-hour Tube service from 2015 was branded by Transport for London as a way to boost the city’s night-time economy and make life more convenient for residents.
However, experts are predicting that the move could have a number of significant knock-on effects for the wider travel sector.
This relates to the fact that one of the lines that makes up the night-time Tube map – the Piccadilly line – serves Heathrow Airport, with stops at Terminals 1, 2 and 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5.
As a result, the flying habits of Londoners and those visiting the city for business and pleasure could be changed forever.
Currently, the only way for passengers flying into Heathrow after midnight or catching an early-morning service from the west London hub to get to the airport is by bus or taxi – one a slow option, the other expensive.
However, once the Piccadilly line begins operating 24 hours a day, travellers will be able to get from central London to Heathrow in around 45 minutes for the cost of a single Tube fare.
“A 24-hour Tube service will have a knock-on effect on people’s travel decisions, including where they prefer to fly from, the time of flight they are prepared to get, and what day of the week they want to fly out and return,” explains Love Holidays’ Al Francis.
“People will be more willing to take flights at ‘unsociable’ times.”
Although this is obviously a huge benefit to consumers, Mr Francis added that businesses such as taxi firms, airport parking operators and airport hotels will lose out, as people will be able to travel door-to-door on the Tube at any time of day. This will subsequently put more money in consumers’ pockets, and holiday spend abroad will likely increase as a result.
Initially, the 24-hour service will only operate on Fridays and Saturdays, so there is likely to be a spike in demand for flights in and out of Heathrow on those days.