Latest Rail News

04.06.13

TfL ‘behind the curve’ on corporate sponsorship of station names

Sponsorship of the Underground could raise money to offset fare rises, the Conservative group on the London Assembly has proposed. Unions have attacked the idea in the strongest possible terms.

Stations and entire lines could be renamed, it is suggested, allowing TfL to raise at least £136m per year. A similar scheme has been tried in Madrid, New York and Dubai, and Conservative assembly members argued that a precedent has already been set in the UK with the Barclays cycle hire scheme.

Gareth Bacon, the report's author, and Tory London Assembly member, said: “TfL is well behind the curve on this one. We have the potential to command tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds through sponsorship deals on stations, lines, trains and bus routes.”

But Graeme Craig, TfL's director of commercial development, said: “The mayor has in the past ruled out the renaming of stations, largely due to the cost of changing the thousands of signs and maps across the network.”

He added: “Companies would say changing the name of a station that has been in place for 100 years or more is in danger of looking tacky.”

Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “Even Boris Johnson realises sponsoring lines and stations is not the way forward for the London Underground. What happens when the sponsors withdraw? And who says that such extra revenue would be put to holding fares down anyway?”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “One minute the London Tories are trying to ban workers’ rights on the Underground, the next they are trying to turn the whole network into one giant marketing opportunity for their big-business backers. We can only speculate what garbage they will spew out next.

“Of course the Tories couldn’t care less about the Tube map and the heritage of our public transport services; in their ‘Greed is Good’ ethos Budweiser Baker Street and McDonald’s Oxford Circus make perfect sense.

“Although Tube managers have rightly dismissed the proposal as unworkable, that doesn’t mean that these jokers will leave it at that. If they think RMT members are going to parade around as advertising hoardings for a bunch of tax-dodging capitalists they should think again.”

(Barclays cycle hire scheme image courtesy anonphotography used here under a Creative Commons licence.)

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Ricp   09/06/2013 at 17:19

Way back in the late 50s, the three prototype Silver Trains, then referred to as 1956 stock was sponsored. Inside the train, every single advertising Tube Card was promoting London & Manchester Assurance. Each card was beautifully designed and carefully coloured so there was a serious message, sponsoring the new tube trains!

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