London

Santander to take over sponsorship of 'Boris bikes' scheme

Boris Johnson on new red 'Boris bikes' Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boris bikes will turn from blue to red as Santander takes over sponsorship of the scheme

Boris bikes are turning red after Santander was chosen to take over the cycle hire scheme's sponsorship.

The current deal with Barclays, which features the familiar blue bikes, ends this year and was worth £5m per year.

Announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson, Santander beat Coca-Cola in the new deal which is believed to be worth about £7m a year.

More than 11,500 of the Santander Cycles and 740 docking stations will be installed across London in April.

Last year, more than 10 million journeys were made.

Mr Johnson said: "As everyone knows, London buses, phone kiosks and post boxes are red.

"In Santander Cycles we have a new red icon symbolising the capital to Londoners and the world.

"Santander's marketing expertise will help us take the cycle hire scheme to a new level and I am thrilled to welcome them."

He joked that the deep red hue of the bikes was "of no political significance whatsoever".

'Championing cycling'

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said the extra money was good news for cycling in London and that the mayor should use the extra money "to review the whole way that cycle hire works".

Labour's London Assembly transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said: "Whilst money is important this deal shouldn't just be about the bottom line, it should be about finding a partner who will take an active role in promoting and championing cycling in London. I very much hope that is the case with Santander."

In 2013, Barclays decided not to renew its sponsorship of the scheme.

A couple of years earlier, Mr Johnson said the bank would continue its sponsorship until 2018 but the company changed its mind following a "strategic review".

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

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