Boris seeks bike sponsor with £38m as bank jumps off early

The Times, Phillip Tank (Transport Correspondent), 2 June 2014

Boris Johnson is to announce his plan to sign up a £38.5 million sponsor for his London cycle hire scheme after Barclays quit the project early.

The mayor of London has written to the biggest 200 advertisers seeking interest in the scheme, which cost his transport group £11 million last year and led to accusations that Barclays failed to pay enough in return for the advertising exposure. The bank withheld some money because the cycle hire business missed early targets.

Mr Johnson had expected Barclays to pay £50 million, but the bank has paid £20.4 million over four years. It decided against an extension to 2018 and is offering Transport for London a financial incentive to leave before its current contract expires in August next year.

An annual fee of at least £5.5 million over seven years will allow the new sponsor to put its logo across the 10,000 bicycles.

Tom Bogdanowicz, of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “We share Boris’s view that Barclays got incredible value out of the publicity and it should have paid the full amount.”

Barclays announced its withdrawal in December at a time of concern over the safety of cyclists in London following six deaths in two weeks. It said its decision was part of a strategic review of its sponsorship deals.

Figures published last week showed that 14 cyclists were killed in London last year, the same number as in 2012, and serious injuries fell to 475 from 657 in 2012.

The Times is campaigning for more investment in cycle infrastructure to save lives and encourage cycling.


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