There has been a lot going on in regards to women’s safety in the streets, particularly at night; over the past year we have seen the murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard amongst others taking this issue to a level of huge national outcry. We have always had to consider our safety at night - ‘text me when you get home!’, turning location trackers on when we go on a date, thinking carefully about the routes you choose to walk back - this isn’t a new phenomenon. However, there has been a big wave of awareness in light of the recent brutal attacks, and we can hope this will lead to some more widespread structural policy changes.
A change.org petition, calling for the return of London’s night tube, has now seen some success; from the 27th November, two lines of the underground will run trains throughout the night, to help ensure people have a safer way to travel home during the early hours of the morning. Whilst this is only a step in the right direction - only a small section of the tube system will be served by night trains - it will still make a profound impact on the choices available to people seeking safe routes home from work or a night out.
But what is there for Newcastle? The Metro barely runs past midnight and only two bus services - the N56 and the N21, as well as some routes serving Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Durham - run throughout the night. This does little for students within Newcastle, who have to either walk home or shell out for an Uber or Taxi. An article ran in the Chronicle a couple of years suggested a number of reasons why a night metro for Newcastle is never going to be on the cards - including a limited fleet of trains, other budget priorities (such as extending the service) and a potential rise in ticket cost), some reasonable considerations.
However, I imagine there’d be a sufficient number of students who would use a night service taking you to east to Chillingham Road or north to Ilford Road, even, on more popular student nights. That said, I feel just instating night service on the Metro would also need to come with measures such as well-lit stations, sufficient CCTV and sensitively stained staff - these actions combined with a night Metro (or more bus routes) can ensure students have another safe (and relatively inexpensive) choice of transport home.