The proportion of revenue raised by Transport for London from commercial activities is set to increase under ambitious new plans presented to the London Assembly earlier this week.
On Tuesday the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee heard how TfL is drawing up plans to become a major residential and commercial landlord by developing its landholdings in-house rather than selling them off to developers.
The organisation is also planning to revamp the retail spaces available in Tube stations.
One proposal could see services such as Amazon Lockers installed, allowing passengers to collect on-line purchases on their way to and from work.
TfL will also work with existing tenants, largely independent retailers, to make retailing on the Tube network more attractive, including by reviewing the use of tenancy review clauses in leases which serve as a disincentive to investment.
Graeme Craig, TfL’s Commercial Development Director, told Assembly Members it would also be open to leasing space to major brands, but stressed the importance of small and local traders to TfL.
Moves to increase the level of non-fares revenue collected could allow the Mayor and TfL to hold down fares or lessen the impact of future increases by providing an alternative long-term funding stream.
Mr Craig also used his appearance before AMs to update them on a new draft sponsorship code.
As previously reported, the new code is promised to make accountability and public transparency core in any future sponsorship deals, allowing fare and taxpayers to better scrutinise contracts.
The agreement of confidentiality clauses in TfL’s contract with Barclays for sponsorship of the cycle hire scheme means mush of the contract’s scope is kept secret from Londoners and AMs. Mr Craig told the committee that “discussions continue” with Barclays about placing more information in the public domain.
The draft code binds TfL to the four key principles:
Principle 1: The Authority may only enter into sponsorship arrangements when it is in its best interest to do so.
Principle 2: Sponsorship arrangements may only be entered into when it is lawful to do so.
Principle 3: Sponsorship opportunities must support or further the Authority’s objectives and priorities.
Principle 4: Sponsorship must represent value for money and any benefits conferred on the sponsor must be proportionate to the value of the sponsorship.
In drawing up the new code, TfL has implemented the majority of recommendations contained in the 2012 Assembly report, ‘Whose brand is it anyway?’.
The promise of a new, more transparent approach to sponsorship was welcomed by committee Chair John Biggs.
However Mr Biggs said his committee “will be taking a close look at TfL’s strategy following its autumn publication to ensure TfL gets the best deal for the millions of Londoners that travel on the network every year.”