Barclays sponsorship of London cycle hire to end

Mayor Boris Johnson on a Barclays Cycle Hire bike More than 26 million journeys have been made on the cycle-hire scheme since its launch

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Barclays will not renew its sponsorship of the cycle hire scheme in London after the deal ends in 2015.

In 2011, Mayor Boris Johnson had said the bank would sponsor the bikes for a further three years up to 2018.

The bank has provided £25m and had pledged a further £25m for its expansion, but said the decision was changed after a "strategic review".

Transport for London said the bank "had not pulled out" but there was a mutual agreement not to extend the deal.

'One-sided deal'

The bank has denied there is any link between recent deaths of cyclists in London and its departure from the scheme.

Analysis

The mayor's critics always hated Barclays sponsoring the cycle scheme and the superhighways.

They raised questions about the suitability of "privatisation of public spaces" and the value of the actual deal.

The RMT called news of the deal ending a "bombshell", but you have to see this in the context of a far more commercial TfL.

It needs to raise billions from commercial deals and I'm sure they hope they can get more in 2015 with a larger hire scheme.

However - and this will be denied until the end no doubt - it's difficult not to see the negative publicity around the cycle superhighways not playing a part in this deals demise.

Mayor Boris Johnson has previously been criticised over the sponsorship deal with the bank, which was signed in 2010, and over his decision to extend the current sponsorship without putting the deal out to a new competitive tender process in 2015 as originally planned.

TfL's director of commercial development, Graeme Craig, said: "Barclays has not pulled out of the Cycle Hire sponsorship deal.

"After the current sponsorship deal with Barclays ends - in two years' time - the cycle sponsorship portfolio will fundamentally change."

He told BBC London that TfL would now be looking for new "sponsors who want to commit to improving cycling in London" rather than just sponsoring the cycle hire scheme.

Although he would not say how much money TfL is looking for, Mr Craig said the transport authority would be going out to the market as soon as it could to find a new sponsor.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: "Barclays have received immense benefits from the publicity given to the cycle hire scheme in its early years, but now that its performance is looking shaky they appear to be bailing out.

"Fundamental questions have to be asked as to how such a one-sided deal was ever struck between Transport for London and Barclays."

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "RMT represents the vast majority of the London bike staff and we are demanding a cast iron guarantee from Boris Johnson that there will be no threat to our members' jobs from this bombshell."

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