Transport for London has been urged to introduce new advertising opportunities around cycle lanes and boost the number of Tube station sponsorship deals it strikes after a new survey suggested Londoners are open to encountering more advertising during their daily commute.
The agency is currently running a £1 billion deficit and is likely to face even greater financial pressure following the decision to delay Crossrail’s opening as fares and commercial revenue from the new rail link had been factored into TfL’s business plan.
Commissioned by the London Assembly, the YouGov survey suggests many Londoners would accept greater levels of advertising on the transport network, with 72% of those expressing a view backing an increased use of digital advertising screens and 59% supporting sponsorship deals, including the renaming of Tube stations and lines.
TfL already runs small-scale station sponsorship campaigns but has previously resisted calls to enter long-term deals, suggesting that any renaming could cause confusion for passengers.
However Gareth Bacon AM, Chairman of the Budget and Performance Committee, said that while such deals “might be abhorrent to some,” they “may well be steps worth considering given the dire state of Transport for London’s finances.”
The survey, which also revealed deep public resistance to the playing of any commercial audio adverts at Tube and Overground stations and the use of pop-up ads when using Wi-Fi on the tube, has been welcomed by TfL.
Graeme Craig, the Director of Commercial Development, said: “We welcome this work and the views of Londoners about advertising on the transport network.
“We generated a record £200m in commercial revenues for the first time last year and forecast further growth through harnessing smarter and more engaging ways in which to advertise.
“All revenue will be reinvested in improving the transport network for Londoners.”