A new FOI response has shed light on some of Transport for London’s obligations to Barclays under its sponsorship agreement with the bank.
The deal covers both the cycle hire scheme and cycle superhighways and is worth “up to £50 million” to TfL by 2018.
Previous FOI responses have revealed that Barclays is invoiced “every 6 months in February/March and August/September time, and payment is due within 20 days of the invoice date”.
Transport for London and Boris Johnson have previously refused to provide any information about its obligations under the contract.
In October 2012 the Mayor told Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson that, beyond the total sum due, “no further detail can be provided due to confidentiality provisions in the contract.”
Since then TfL has reversed a number of previous refusals in the face of ongoing questions from Assembly Members and commentators about the deal’s true worth to the taxpayer.
In its latest u-turn TfL has now answered an FOI request from Assembly Member Johnson asking an identically worded question. The response reveals that receipt of the full sum “is primarily dependent” on TfL delivering on the following obligations:
Phase 1 launch is achieved on time;
Phase 2 launch is achieved on time;
Phase 3 extension is achieved on time;
The cycle superhighways are delivered on time;
TfL meets its annual trips targets; and
TfL meets agreed levels of service for:
- Bicycle availability
- Repair of bicycles
- Availability of bicycles
- Availability of docking stations
- Processing of registrations
- Call centre response times
- Availability of the Barclays Cycle Hire website
- Handling of enquiries and complaints
In November it emerged that 60% of all late return fees levied on the hire scheme’s users are subsequently refunded.
News that TfL has given the bank undertakings on its handling of complaints will fuel speculation that its willingness to refund such a high percentage of users is informed by its desire to avoid Barclays imposing penalties.
The Mayor has previously said refunds are reviewed “on a case by case basis” and that TfL “is happy to offer refunds where, for instance, a customer may have simply misunderstood the scheme and genuinely believed they’d hired a bike for a day or a week.”