London Underground to sell out?

A new report suggests by renaming London Underground lines under sponsorship deals, it could freeze fares for up to three years.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 20 Jun 2013

London commuters could be spared fare rises next year – if Transport for London is willing to rename its lines and stations under sponsorship deals, a report by the Conservative Party on the London Assembly reckons.

We can see it now: the Branston’s Piccalilli line. LV=pool Street. Greggs the Baker Street.

In all seriousness, though, it might not be a terrible idea: the report says if TfL could raise £136m through sponsorship deals, it could freeze fares for a year. If it raised £204m, it could cap rises for three years – a nice reprise for cash-strapped London commuters, who had to swallow a 4.2% rise this year.

According to the report, other metro systems already do a similar thing, with lines and stations in Madrid, New York and Dubai all named after brands.

‘TfL is well behind the curve on this one,’ says report author Gareth Bacon (sponsored by Danepak). ‘We have the potential to command tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds through sponsorship deals on stations, lines, trains and bus routes.’

Alas, it looks like it is not to be: TfL reckons that the cost of changing maps and signs makes the deal ‘unfeasible’.

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