Mayor must answer questions over cycle hire scheme – Caroline Pidgeon
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on today's announcement that London's cycle hire scheme will expand into west and south-west London by the summer of 2012 said:
"Everyone wants to see the cycle hire scheme expanded. The scheme's expansion is obviously great news for the areas of London that will now be covered, but the Mayor should have today told Londoners which other areas will get the cycle hire scheme as it is expanded in future years.
"The Mayor also needs to answer a key question - why has the sponsorship arrangement with Barclays has been so casually extended for a further three years, instead of being put out to a competitive tender when the five year contract expires in 2015?
"The Mayor is selling Londoners short by not getting the best sponsorship deal that is possible. He should not have automatically extended Barclay's sponsorship of the scheme without seeking other expressions of interest.
"Let's not pretend for one moment that Barclays are being generous here. The current sponsorship deal is a great commercial deal for them, providing them with worldwide publicity at little relative cost. The bank is paying less than £5 million a year for this sponsorship deal and one has to question how well the Mayor and his team did in negotiating this deal. The immense amount of free publicity Barclays have received - and will receive - for sponsoring the cycle hire scheme is worth far more than this."