The Night Tube delay is not just frustrating for commuters – it’s putting business plans on hold, too
The Night Tube is the promised land for many people reliant on London's night-time economy.
A long-overdue culture shift away from people getting drunk as quickly as possible, to a world in which a more measured mass stay out and enjoy the finer things the capital has to offer, spending money until the early hours without the need to get the last Tube home.
Now, with reports the service may not launch until March 2016, we are one of many companies reviewing what this may mean for us.
We launched in July because we thought it would give us time to establish our late night food delivery service before the Night Tube kicked in. We had grand plans for extra delivery drivers and marketing teams to cash in and cater for the increased hoards of hungry revellers. But while sales have been increasing as people return from their holidays, the big boom of profits is now unlikely to come. And those ideas of rapid growth and a bigger team are dead in the water.
It's not just us. I know of many bars and restaurants that had planned to extend opening hours on Friday's and Saturday's in order to cater for the higher numbers of people staying later, and therefore spending more money in the city. They too have decided the extra effort is no longer worth it, so 11pm closing times shall remain.
It transcends just business though; it's the reputation London is getting internationally that is worrying. A city that is vibrant and diverse and a world leader in the arts in the day, but anything approaching midnight and boom it's over, shut-up shop, nothing to see here, go home please.
So sadly the binge-drinking culture, the restaurant kitchens closing at 11pm, that anxiety about catching the last Tube home will remain. Italian and Spanish people – more used to ironing their jeans to go out at midnight than running to get on the final Central Line train home, will continue to be perplexed by London's dearth of late night activities.
As for us, we will plough on. The delay to the Night Tube will at least not encourage anyone else to try and interfere in our late night niche. But the increase in business and sales and profits that the service could have brought, that's something we will most likely still be waiting for in early 2016.