Tubes will not run overnight on New Year’s Eve to stop people from being tempted to celebrate the end of 2020 amid the coronavirus crisis.
Transport for London (TfL) usually runs an overnight service on December 31 to help people get around the capital – and often for free.
Andy Lord, managing director of the London Underground, told a meeting of the TfL board today of the plans for New Year.
‘We’ve published TFL’s plans for the whole of the festive period,’ he said.
‘It’s a near normal service compared to last Christmas with the one exception being New Year’s Eve where we are not planning to run through the night.’
Night buses would still be running as normal, but otherwise the last service out of London will run at around 12.30am.
‘We will be operating a normal Thursday night into Friday morning service so the last trains from London will be from midnight 30 and 1am and then a slightly later start up on New Year’s Day,’ Mr Lord added.
New Year’s Eve is after the five-day Christmas bubble period between December 23 and 27, where three households are allowed to join together.
This means people won’t be able to mix with family or friends in indoor locations after those dates.
There is also a possibility London residents may also be forced to stay at home completely over New Year if the capital is put into tier three next week.
Under tier three restrictions, all pubs and restaurants must close and can only offer takeaway or delivery service.
Mr Lord also revealed the Waterloo and City line will remain shut until April while bankers continue to work from home during the pandemic.
‘At the moment our current planning assumption is that we won’t reopen the Waterloo and City Line before April 2021 because there is little demand for it,’ he added.
The operators who work on the line also work on the Central Line trains, which have been the busiest throughout the pandemic.
Mr Lord said: ‘The Central Line has been one of, if not the busiest, tube line throughout the pandemic, particularly the east end of the line.
‘Hence we took the decision to suspend the Waterloo and City due to the lack of demand and need to prioritise service on the central line.’
He said while the line is out of service the trains are being repaired.
‘We have the ability to reintroduce the Waterloo and City Line at relatively short notice if demand were to increase, or for any other reason, but it would have a detrimental impact on the Central Line which we believe is a higher priority,’ he added.
It comes after in September mayor Sadiq Khan announced the cancellation of traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations in London.
He said there will be ‘no fireworks’ and ‘nothing happening’ on December 31, as the capital ‘can’t afford’ to have large crowds of people come together.
He said 2021 would instead be brought in by ‘something that people can enjoy in the comfort of their living rooms’ – but no further details have emerged yet.
There are also fears London may be plunged into tier three next week when Covid-19 restrictions are renewed. Infections are continuing to rise in some boroughs and scientists are warning there may be a surge of cases in the capital over Christmas.
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