London’s Tube stations could be renamed through lucrative advertising deals if Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey gets elected.
Bailey’s proposal, which he says could bring in £100m a year, follows in the footsteps of the Dubai Metro which has allowed companies to bid for naming rights of underground stations.
The mayoral candidate told the Sunday Telegraph that the plan would bolster Transport for London’s (TfL) dire financial situation, after it was given a £1.6bn government bailout earlier this year.
TfL announced this week that advertising revenue on the Tube fell by 90 per cent in this year’s first quarter, with the transport body’s bosses warning of a “catastrophic impact”.
Dubai raised £300m by selling off naming rights to 21 new underground stations, while parts of Madrid and New York’s respective metro systems have also long been sponsored by large firms such as Vodafone.
Bailey told The Telegraph: “We need to fix the service that Londoners love. That’s why I’ll invite businesses to sponsor station names and Tube lines.
“With TfL’s funding in crisis, we need ideas like this. We’ve done it before, with Barclays and Santander sponsoring our bike hire scheme.”
It comes as City A.M. revealed this week that more than 135m passenger hours have been lost on the Tube network due to delays in the past five years.
This included a 55 per cent rise in lost hours in 2019/20, however City Hall has derided the claims as “nonsense”.
TfL’s finances have been rocked by coronavirus, with revenues falling by around 90 per cent after lockdown was imposed.
With Tube numbers still only hovering around 35 per cent of normal capacity, mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that TfL will need a new funding deal from the government by the end of October.