Much has been made of the news that RMT members have voted to accept the pay deal with claims that this brings us a step closer to Night Tube but it isn’t as close as some people might think. Night Tube will only start once 180 part time TOps are in place, back in January LU announced that it had over 6000 applications, some of which were existing TfL or LUL employees while the rest were from the general public.
I’ve not met or heard of a single TOp on the Central Line who has applied to go part time, if anyone knows a TOp anywhere who has then please let me know but I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t many. I have been told that some other existing employees have started the training course while the task of sorting through the external applications was completed about a month ago and the ones that weren’t obviously bat-shit crazy or otherwise unsuitable are currently going through the assessment phase. After the assessments there are the interviews, the medicals and the background checks still to go, if my own experience back in the late 90s is anything to go by it could be another 2-3 months before anyone starts training
Training will take 16 weeks, if it hasn’t changed in the last 12 years the first four weeks are classroom based but due to the lack of trainers and limited space they can probably only take 20 at a time. The next four weeks will be line specific stock training but the last eight weeks is on a one-to-one basis out on the “road” with an IOp and there are only a limited number of them per line. I think the Central has less than 20 and obviously not all of those will be available at any given time.
At a rough guess I don’t think we will be seeing Night Tube until the late autumn, maybe even winter but there is no guarantee that out of all those applications there are 180 candidates who can actually get all the way to the final Road Test. As I’ve mentioned before when LU last advertised externally for TOps – full time rather than part time – they got far more applications and only about 30 candidates eventually passed out as drivers.
This is why I suspect LU haven’t said much about the news from RMT, they simply don’t know when or even if Night Tube is going to happen.