Review of cycle hire scheme as Santander sign sponsorship deal

27 February 2015

TfL has signed a seven year sponsorship contract worth £7m a year with Santander TfL, taking over sponsorship of the cycle hire scheme, replacing Barclays. The deal consists of a £6.25 million annual fee and a £1 million a year “activation fund” to attract more members and encourage greater use of the bikes, particularly among families (1). The deal means that Transport for London will have around £14m extra in addition to the existing £913m for cycling allocated in their ten year budget plan (2). Jenny Jones has called for this money to be used to both modernise the scheme and to expand it in areas like south London where there is a clear demand.

After a Greenpeace campaign highlighting Santander’s involvement in digging up Indonesia’s rainforest and driving endangered species to extinction, Santander pledged to cease funding the paper company APRIL responsible for the deforestation (3). The Ethical Consumer Research Association ranked Santander in their worst categories for criminal activities and fines, excessive directors pay and likely use of tax avoidance strategies (4).

Jenny Jones said:

“The extra money is good news for cycling in London, although there are genuine concerns over some of Santander's international activities and its suitability as a sponsor. The Mayor should be using the extra money to review the whole way that cycle hire works. There are still complaints about over charging and the lack of compatibility with Oyster or waive and pay. The biggest complaint is over cycle hire missing out large chunks of inner London. The Mayor needs to look at expanding the scheme further northwards and to address the big gap in coverage south of the river."

"Santander appears to have backed down from their dubious rainforest destruction activities, but there are still questions about their likely use of tax avoidance strategies. The Mayor needs to examine this.”

Notes to editors

1) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/santander-boris-bikes-red-blue-bar...

2) The Mayor confirmed in an answer to Darren Johnson's question that the TfL cycling budget of £913m was based upon an estimate of £5m a year being raised from cycle sponsorship with any increase in sponsorship income being in addition.

3) http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/forests/result-santander-stops-financing-forest-destroyer-april-20150226

4) Ethical Consumer Research Association for Move Your Money assessment of UK major banks against five criteria including honesty, supporting the economy and ethical lending. Santander was ranked in the worst categories for: criminal activity and fines; excessive directors’ rumuneration; too big to fail; likely use of tax avoidance strategies;

http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Move-Your-Money-Scorecard-Methodology-Sept-2013.pdf

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