TfL: Londoners have no right to know how much cycle hire funding boroughs provide

London's boroughs are subsidising TfL's contract with Barclays. Image: MayorWatch
Transport for London says informing Londoners how much funding it wants their local boroughs to provide towards the cycle hire scheme would “prejudice TfL’s commercial interests.”

In February we revealed that the scheme’s £40m eastwards expansion was being partly funded by Tower Hamlets council and that boroughs within the westwards expansion have been told the roll-out is “conditional” on them providing £2m towards the scheme.

Transport for London has continually declined to reveal how many other boroughs it is seeking funding from or how much it expects boroughs to contribute overall.

As reported last week, London’s boroughs, taxpayers and fare payers are funding the majority of the scheme’s set-up and operating costs.

To date, the cost to the public purse exceeds the maximum level of financial support being provided by scheme sponsors Barclays. Regardless of this, the bank continues to enjoy high levels of PR from the taxpayer owned TfL.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, TfL maintains that informing Londoners how much their local boroughs, which are facing budget pressures due to the UK’s austerity measures, are expected to pay:

“would adversely affect TfL’s ability to secure the contributions towards the cost of the expansion of the Scheme which we are seeking from the Boroughs, or other landowners, and therefore would be likely to prejudice TfL’s commercial interests, by increasing the proportion of costs which would have to be met from TfL’s own resources.

“Disclosure would weaken TfL’s position in current and future negotiations with the Boroughs, and other landowners, by revealing the contribution we are prepared to consider accepting in each negotiation.”


  1. Muhammad Haque says

    So TfL is primarily a business, not a public body? When did they create that derogation? Has tether been any definitive jurisprudence backing that fakery?
    You may like to share with visitors the full extent of your legal queries with TfL and any actual of proposed legal and Constitutional law tests via the UK “courts” so far.
    My understanding of the “Constitution” is that a public body is under obligations to be transparent in ways that no commercial entity would be. Since when has TFL’s public body duties become part of its fabricated commercial secrecy denials? On what exhausted legal process test can TfL be allowed to say what you report them as doing in relation to your stated queries of them? Have you applied under the ECHR, the RRA and the FoIA and the various statutes and statutory instruments covering the “representation of the peoples” remits, duties and obligations? In international law, the UK’s Treaty obligations include the UNO’s Founding Declarations. Have you sought to invoke their Constitutional applications in the UK over this? I am aware of the very insular tradition in the UK “legal system” when it comes to international treaties and laws. However, it is worth examining the empirical evidence of anyone trying to make the UK legal “system” pass international legal and constitutional scrutiny conducted rigourously and exhaustively.

  2. Damian Hockney says

    Muhammed, I sympathise with your point, but this I am afraid is the way modern government has drifted. When I was an Assembly Member between 2004 and 2008, my group were always being told that we couldn’t have information because of commercial confidentiality. No doubt exactly the same applies today. What it really boils down to, though, is that the excuse is often used because the honest answer would hold the body refusing to answer it up to ridicule. It makes a nonsense of the concept of “holding to account” and turns it into a superficial canter through publicly available information. The Olympic Games is a master at this and all manner of things are kept secret which impact on the taxpayer and on the reputation of London. It also means, as I pointed out, that it is better by subterfuge to hand info to journalists who print it and then you comment on it. But it has come to a pretty pass when this is how we are governed. And the electorate, along with those specifically elected at great expense to hold TfL to account, are barred from access. Expect more, not less of this, right down to your personal data etc.