Boris’s own figures confirm taxpayer is biggest Cycle Hire funder

London Cycle Hire bikes . Photo: MayorWatch
Taxpayers will pay at least £67.8m to fund London’s Cycle Hire scheme, almost £18m more than the maximum contribution from sponsors Barclays bank.

Although Transport for London has adopted a policy of not publicising non-Barclays funding sources, figures provided by Mayor Boris Johnson show that Londoners are funding the greatest share of the scheme’s set-up costs.

The Barclays’ sponsorship deal is worth a maximum of £50m by 2018.

The Mayor and Transport for London have repeatedly refused to publish their contract with Barclays.

However the £50m sponsorship money is understood to be paid in annual instalments based on the scheme meeting contracted performance criteria.

Where those criteria are not met, it is understood that Barclays can reduce the total amount of sponsorship money.

In an answer to Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, Mayor Johnson confirmed that the cost of implementing the scheme’s current two phases was £119.8m.

As previously reported, the costs of the recent eastwards expansion were met in part by Tower Hamlets council which provided £2m.

Other councils have been told expansion into their boroughs is “conditional” on them also providing £2m of funding.

The Mayor’s figures show that taxpayers have provided the majority of the scheme’s upfront costs, with TfL providing the shortfall between the borough funding and the money received so far from Barclays.

Even if TfL had received the entire £50m promised sponsorship from Barclays upfront, taxpayers would still have paid £67.8m to date. The staged payments of Barclays’ funding means the actual taxpayer contribution is likely to be far higher.

Despite being a minority funding partner, Barclays continues to benefit from blanket publicity from the taxpayer owned TfL.


  1. Bob says

    As the cycle hire scheme has fallen far short of its initial target of 40,000 trips a day (achieving only around 25,000 a day) it is likely that the contribution from Barclays has been lowered accordingly, leaving taxpayers on the hook for even more.

  2. Jonathan Price says

    Even if it is ‘only’ 25,000 trips per day, it is a tremendous success and very good value for the taxpayer. If it were extended south to Clapham, Brixton and Camberwell, it would be even better.

    Any cost benefit analysis must also factor in the health benefits of exercise for people who would otherwise have gone by bus or tube.

  3. Max says

    Not to mention reduced emissions and VOCs and the corresponding reduction in asthma’s toll on the NHS. Plus they’re fun- an extra perk for the lucrative tourism industry. Who cares if the initial estimate was too high, Boris Bikes are great

  4. says

    A survey of Boris Bike users last November found that nearly previously 34% had used the Tube, 26% walked, 20% bus, 8% their own bike, 3% train, 3% taxis and 3% their own car. As there are still the same number of buses , Tubes, trains and taxis out there any reduction in emissions is negligible.

    The health benefits of 25000 trips a day in a city of over 7 million are equally insignificant.

  5. Jonathan Price says

    I think ASLEF’s comment is a bit silly. Of course the people had used other forms of transport before taking a Barclay Bike. What did you expect? That they were rooted to the spot? Cycling is the cleanest, fittest most desirable form of transport ever invented and should be encouraged over slumping in a bus or train seat every time.
    Equally obvious is the financial point. Of course the taxpayer foots the bill. The taxpayer forks out for every form of public transport except one, the taxi.

  6. says

    Great as cycling is, I object to us all subsidising Barclays advertising. The bikes and street furniture are plastered in their log and livery, and apparently as of 2010 they have only paid £3.4 million!
    great for Barclays, great for Boris, great for lots of tourists, not so great for taxpayers.