What is TfL hiding?

How much are London's boroughs paying for the Cycle Hire scheme? Image: MayorWatch

On Monday 20th February I asked Transport for London a series of questions about borough funding of the Cycle Hire scheme, including “the amount per borough for the expansions”.

Nine days later, and having been repeatedly chased, TfL still refuses to provide the information.

Having claimed they were too busy to provide a response in part because of the current BBC Two documentary, TfL’s latest attempt to avoid answering was merely to tell me what I already know:

“Last July the Mayor asked Transport for London (TfL) to prepare plans for a westward expansion of the scheme through the boroughs of Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth and Kensington & Chelsea. Boroughs where the scheme is proposed to extend will be asked to contribute towards the expansion costs, TfL has currently opened negotiations with the appropriate boroughs.”  

TfL cannot have started negotiations without first having calculated what they consider to be the appropriate contribution from the boroughs.

And while TfL’s press officers claim “negotiations” are in progress, the Wandsworth letter I previously reported paints a very different picture – officers and councillors were told the expansion into their borough was “conditional on the Council making a financial contribution of £2 million.”

Not much sign of negotiation there.

London Assembly members often accuse TfL of being “arrogant” and “smug” and under both Mayors there’s been accusations that it’s been “politicised” and sees its job as defending City Hall rather than answering to Londoners.

The requested information isn’t privileged and, unlike the secret sponsorship agreement with Barclays, TfL can’t hide behind claims of commercial confidentiality.

So why the refusal to say how much money is being taken from financially squeezed boroughs?