According to posts on Twitter, Boris Johnson has signed up online loan company Wonga to sponsor free travel on New Year’s Eve.
Maybe TfL’s shyness is down to some very negative perceptions people have about a company offering short term loans on a typical APR of 2689% (the company’s website goes to great pains to point out that “APR is not the same as actual interest charged”).
City Hall haven’t yet responded to my enquiries about the reported deal, when/if they do I’ll include their comments.
In the meantime it’s maybe worth recalling a time when Boris thought it wrong for the poor and needy to subsidise travel in the capital.
If you travel on New Year’s Eve please consider paying your own fare rather than letting the needy pay it for you.
UPDATE: The Mayor’s press office passed my enquiry to TfL who, as well as confirming “agreement was reached last week” for the deal, sent the following statement:
“Transport for London (TfL) each year seeks support for the provision of free travel on New Year’s Eve between 11.45pm and 4:30am.
Wonga.com is making a contribution in support of free travel for this New Year’s Eve, and is licensed by the Office of Fair Trading and regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.”
UPDATE 2: London Assembly Members Darren Johnson, Jenny Jones and Jennette Arnold have all criticised the acceptance of Wonga.com as a sponsor while Labour MP Stella Creasy, who is campaigning for caps on the cost of borrowing, has written to the Mayor asking him to “change his mind” over the deal.
PS: More on this from Adam