- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2016

Twenty-four-hour service is finally beginning in London’s Underground subway system Friday evening, nearly a year after it was originally planned to go into effect.

For now, the service will run Fridays and Saturdays and is limited to just two lines — the Victoria and the Central — but will be expanded over the next few years to include other lines in the 249-mile system that sprawls beneath the British capital city.

“The plan was announced in November 2013 and intended to begin in September 2015, but strikes over pay delayed the start by nearly another year,” the BBC said on Friday. “Transport for London said there was a ‘huge demand’ as passenger numbers on weekends had soared by 70% since 2000.”

Boris Johnson, who now serves as the U.K.’s foreign secretary, was behind the push for the overnight service when he was mayor. The BBC reports that his successor, Sadiq Khan, plans to ride the rails in the inaugural “Night Tube” service on the Victoria Line.

“Think of the theaters, the live music venues, the restaurants. I’m really pleased and proud that finally the Night Tube is here,” Mr. Khan said.

While London plans to gradually expand overnight service throughout their 153-year-old subway system, back on this side of the pond, Washington, D.C.’s Metro authority is planning on permanently ending its late-night weekend service, citing insufficient revenue and the need to keep tracks clear overnight for much-needed maintenance. 

D.C.’s Metro, which opened in 1976, has never run around-the-clock, but from 2007 to earlier this year ran a late-night train service on Fridays and Saturdays until 3 a.m. The trains now stop at midnight.

By contrast, the subway system in New York — famously tagged by Frank Sinatra as “the city that never sleeps” —  has operated around-the-clock since its inception in 1904.

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