Thousands sign petition for Night Tube to reopen to keep women safe after Everard murder

6 October 2021, 21:07

The petition for the Night Tube to reopen has been launched following the murder of Sarah Everard.
The petition for the Night Tube to reopen has been launched following the murder of Sarah Everard. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

More than 75,000 people have signed a petition calling for the night Tube to be reopened in London to help keep women and girls safe following the murder of Sarah Everard.

The petition, launched by Ella Watson, is calling for the service to resume this winter after it was shut in response to the outbreak of coronavirus last year.

Ms Watson said the decision to pause the 24-hour service on the London Underground means women will be forced to get taxis home at night instead - something many feel is unsafe in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

The recent incidents of violence against women on the streets of London have reinforced how unsafe women and girls feel walking home at night, Ms Watson said.

Read more: Sarah Everard murder: A timeline of key events

Read more: Under-fire Met tells women to 'wave down a bus' if they feel in danger during arrest

Writing on the page, she said: "In the UK and London women and girls are unsafe on the streets, especially at night. The rightful outcry at the recent murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard on London's streets, epitomises the fear women face of walking alone or standing on the streets in the evening and at night.

"The decision taken by TfL to keep the night tube closed over the winter of 2021/2022 will have a disproportionate impact on women and low-income groups, with women forced to take expensive taxis home during the busy festive season as a result of being unsafe in public.

"Yet taxis themselves pose a risk to women, with 235 allegations of rape or sexual assault against London taxi / private hire drivers over a 12-month period during 2019."

Her petition, launched on Change.org, has received more than 75,000 signatures so far.

It needs to reach 100,000 before it is debated in Parliament by MPs.

Read more: Killer cop to die behind bars: Sarah Everard's parents say the world is a 'safer place'

Andy Lord, managing director of London Underground, said the "feasibility" of reintroducing one or two Night Tube lines more quickly is being "explored".

Ms Watson said that physical changes to the environment, such as street lights and safer transport, should "not be seen as a solution, serving as a Band Aid to the problem of violence against women".

She added: "Arguably they can help make a significant difference, especially during the winter months."

Read more: Violence against women 'should be prioritised as much as terrorism'

Mr Lord said ensuring women and girls travel safely on London public transport is an "absolute priority" for TfL.

"We are running as close to a full service as possible across all our services and the Tube continues to serve central London with last trains leaving around 01:00 and starting again at 05:30," he said.

"We want to reopen the Night Tube as quickly as possible but the pandemic limited our ability to train drivers and we have had to deploy available drivers to maintain a reliable service during the daytime across the week.

"We are continuing to review how we might be able to reintroduce the full Friday and Saturday Night Tube in a safe and viable way as soon as possible."

Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered by Wayne Couzens - a serving Met Police officer - back in March.

Couzens falsely arrested the marketing executive as she walked home from her friends house in Clapham, abusing his powers to commit his "sickening" crime.

The former officer was sentenced to life behind bars for Ms Everard's murder last week.

Sabina Nessa's body was found by a member of the public just five-minutes from her home, in Kidbrooke, in September.

She was killed while walking to meet a friend at a pub in London.

There have been calls for more to be done to address the issue of violence against women in our society in the wake of the tragic murders.