Barclays is ending its sponsorship of London's bike share program, commonly known as "Boris Bikes" after the London mayor, Boris Johnson, who launched the program. The bank announced its decision in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, London time
"Barclays has decided not to take up the option to renew the sponsorship of Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways beyond the existing contract that runs until August 2015," the bank said in a statement. "Several months ago we began the process of a strategic review of our sponsorship programmes and we have now made a commercial decision not to continue the sponsorship."
The Guardian, which first reported the decision, said there has been increasing concern about cycling safety in London. But the bank statement continued:
"The sponsorship has been very successful in helping launch a new sustainable form of public transport and we are delighted to have played a part in helping launch this great scheme for London. We wish the Mayor, TfL and London every success in building on the investment we have made."
Barclays cycle hire launched in 2010 and now has 8000 bikes. It has served as a model for New York's Citi Bike, which launched earlier this year with 6000 bikes. Citibank signed a $41 million, 5 year contract to have it's name and logo emblazoned on the blue bikes and docking stations. It was a particular point of pride for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Chief Janette Sadik-Khan that the program wouldn't use taxpayer money, though that has contrained the growth of NYC's system. After bikes and docking stations were destroyed by storm Sandy, the city has been unable to meet its initial target of having 10,000 bikes through swathes of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan.
No word on whether Citi Bike is re-examining it reexamining its own sponsorship.
But Paul Steely White, the Chief of Transportation Alternatives, says he's not worried. "It's apples and oranges he said. Citibank got the deal of the century to sponsor Citi Bike."