Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Boris Bikes: Westfield pay not a penny

Westfield: Free PR
Westfield have still not paid a penny toward the cost of the Boris Bike docking stations in Shepherd's Bush, Transport for London have disclosed in response to a freedom of information request submitted by excellent blog MayorWatch.

So that's not one shilling towards the huge amount of good PR sent their way throughout the Olympics for hosting the stations. 

You may remember the local press here reported the good news story that the bikes were coming to the Bush, repeating a Boris press release with no questions asked. Much tribute was paid to corporate giants Westfield for supporting the scheme, along with Boris' favourite banker, Bob Diamond (formerly) of Barclays Bank.

The Fulham Chronicle gushed: "Mr Johnson says the expansion, made possible with a £4m cash windfall from Westfield and a further £50m from sponsors Barclay's, won't be the last"

But it turned out, surprise surprise, not to be quite so attractive as the pre-written press coverage claimed. No, you the taxpayer were in fact stumping up £2million for the privilege courtesy of H&F Council alongside Westfield and Barclays' munificence. And we found that out by my asking the Council press office a simple question, which wasn't difficult.

Diamond: Boris Banker/Biker
Now it turns out that while you the taxpayer have stumped up on time, with no public vote of thanks from our Mayor, our neighbours at Westfield have basked in all of this great PR without handing over a penny.

The first installment is expected next month, apparently, whileTfL have also been forced to admit they have no idea when, if ever, the scheme will be self-funding.

Transport for London say curtly:
"TfL has not received any money from Westfield as of the date of your request. Under the terms of the agreement with Westfield no payments are due as of yet".
Well, that's OK then!

1730UPDATE - Responding to this story the Leader of the LibDems and Chair of the Transport Committee at the London Assembly says this:
"Westfield have had a year of favourable publicity from the bike hire scheme, yet incredibly have not yet coughed up a penny towards supporting it." 
"Two years after it started it is crystal clear the London bike hire scheme is being heavily subsidised by taxpayers, yet the Mayor's obsession is merely to heap praise on companies that contribute so very little. 
"Just as with Barclays Bank it seems the Mayor is happy to take ordinary Londoners for a ride."


  1. If the money isn't due yet anyway, I'm not sure I see the problem. Tell me when it's overdue - that's far more relevant.

  2. Bit of a non-story this - but then August is always a slow news month!