Tube to run later at weekends

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The Independent Online

Some staff with Saturday jobs could struggle to get to work following changes to Tube opening times, a passenger group said today.

The London mayor Ken Livingstone has announced the London Underground will run half an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights and start one hour later on Saturday mornings.

Although welcoming the longer evening opening, London TravelWatch said it was worried about the new Saturday morning times.

Although Tube trains will, from May next year, get into central London around 7am on Saturdays, this could be too late for some workers.

London TravelWatch chairman Brian Cooke said: "We are concerned that the passengers who rely on the Tube in the morning, such as cleaning and retail staff and many NHS workers, as well as those needing to go to airports, will miss out unless suitable alternative arrangements, such as extra buses are put in place."

It had originally been proposed to put back Sunday morning Tube starting times by an hour but, after consultation, this move has been abandoned.

From late May 2007, the last Tubes will leave central London stations on Friday and Saturday nights at around 1am instead of 12.30am.

Mr Livingstone said: "We know that the majority of Londoners would like the Tube to run later at weekends, so they can travel home safely after a night out at the theatre or a club."

Transport for London said it would look at the whole question of early morning Saturday bus services to fit in with the new Tube times.

Justin Bowden, the GMB union's senior London organiser, said there should be consultations over the impact of the changes on workers.

"It is not right to rob Peter of his train to take him to work to enable Paul to socialise later at the weekend. Both demands need to be accommodated."

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