Travelling around London at night can seem quite daunting, especially if you’re new to the city. Here’s some information that may be useful to you.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the Victoria, Jubilee and most of the Central, Piccadilly and Northern lines will run through the night. According to TfL , the service is pivotal to London’s night economy, and cuts night-time journeys by an average of 20 minutes, with some cut by more than an hour.
Weekday services and all other lines suspend service between the rough hours of 00:30 and 05:00, so be sure to familiarise yourself with exact times for your route. The CityMapper app is a fantastic resource for route planning.
Here’s a quick overview of the what we can expect from the night tube:
Jubilee and Victoria lines
Trains on average every 10 minutes across the entire line.
Trains every 10 minutes between White City and Leytonstone.
Every 20 minutes Ealing Broadway to White City and Leytonstone to Loughton/Hainault.
No service between North Acton and West Ruislip, Loughton and Epping and Woodford and Hainault.
Trains every eight minutes between Morden and Camden Town.
Every 15 minutes from Camden Town to High Barnet/Edgware.
No service on Mill Hill East/Bank branches.
Trains every 10 minutes between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5.
No service on Heathrow Terminal 4 loop or between Acton Town and Uxbridge.
How much does it cost? Standard off-peak fares apply for travel on the night tube. Day Travelcards are valid on the day of issue (using the date printed on the card), and for journeys starting before 04:30 the following day. For example, if you buy a Day Travelcard at 11:00 on Friday, you can use it until 04:29 on the following Saturday. Daily capping on Oyster cards and contactless payment cards also applies.
Trust your instincts - if you feel at all uneasy, move to a carriage where there are other people. There are also passenger alarms in all tube carriages and Help Points on all platforms - a phone that will connect you directly to the transport police.
Some London bus services run 24 hours a day for a fixed fare of £1.55 per journey. Check your local bus stop for any buses marked 24 hour or with an ‘N’ in front of the number. You can also find any bus, day or night by using the Transport for London (TfL) journey planner .
At most bus stops, you can also send a text to 87287 (maybe save this in your phone?) with your bus stop code and you will receive the details of the next five buses. Texts cost 12p. If you feel at all uneasy whilst on a bus, you can sit near the driver.
Look out for these signs at bus stops. In the white box is the bus stop code.
Remember, your journey is not over until you’re through your front door. When you leave your bus or train don’t walk home alone in the dark, and plan your route so that you are confident of finding your way home. Stick to well-lit streets and mark out milestones or ‘safe-spaces’ en route, such as 24hr shops or police stations. It’s usually a good idea to let flatmates or friends know when you’re on your way with an expected arrival time.
Cabs and Taxis
What’s a booked minicab?
A booked minicab is a cab that you have booked directly with the minicab office or operator. It guarantees that you will be travelling in a licensed, insured vehicle, driven by a licensed and insured driver. It also means that a record is kept of your journey, the driver and the vehicle.
If it is the cab you’ve booked, the driver will be able to confirm your name and destination.
What’s an unbooked minicab?
An unbooked cab is one that you haven’t booked in advance. It may be offered to you by someone with a high-vis jacket and clipboard, possibly outside a nightclub.
Even if minicabs are lined up outside a club, they are still breaking the law if they accept your fare directly, without you having booked them in advance.
Even if the taxi and the driver are both licensed – if you haven’t booked it, it’s illegal. The only exception to this are the London black cabs.
Black cabs can be hailed on the street. They do not need to be booked, but you can book one if you want to via an app – just search ‘cabwise’ in your app store.
Booking a taxi
You can either book a taxi using the cabwise app (just search ‘cabwise’ in your app store) or you can text ‘CAB’ to 60835 and you will receive a text with two phone numbers for two minicab numbers and one black cab number. Each text will cost you 35p.
Alternatively you can visit or call a local licensed minicab office. Some late-night venues hold a license to take your booking, but to be legal your booking has to be placed inside.
Uber’s offering is straightforward: use a phone app to find a car registered with their service in your vicinity, and that car will take you where you want to go, for cheaper than a cab you’d hail on the street - sometimes. How much an Uber will cost you involves some mysterious combination of speed, distance, availability of cars in the area, whether it’s raining or Pancake Day and how successful the CEO was at the roulette table the previous night.
There’s a mixed pool of opinion over the safety of Uber services, so be sure to do your research before signing up. Uber drivers, while subject to background checks, aren’t licensed in the same way as registered taxi drivers, but the average Uber ride — with its GPS monitoring, cashless payments, real identity recording, and pre-booking — generates more information about who is in the car.
You’ll likely also have heard of UberPool, which allows up to three passengers to share a car and save money on the standard fare. But does the cost outweigh the risk? Travelling with strangers who can easily learn your address is a real personal security risk it’s better to avoid.
If you want to make a complaint about a black cab or minicab then you can call Transport for London (TfL) on 0845 300 7000 or email TPHintel@tfl.gov.uk
If you know you’re going to be out late, plan how you’re going to get home. If possible, make a note of buses or cab companies before you leave the house, and make a dry-run of your route during the day. If you know which venue you are going to, check their website as they may have useful travel information on it. A really useful resource is the Transport for London (TfL) journey planner .
Make sure you have enough money on your Oyster card or that you have a contactless debit or credit card (you can now scan these like Oyster cards on buses and in the Underground and Overground). Be aware that buses no longer accept cash – you must pay your bus fare by Oyster or contactless card.
If your plans for the evening change, let someone know if possible.