Examples of sponsorship providing drinking fountains, video screens and mobile phone connectivity

· Industry experts back the huge benefits tube sponsorship can bring to passenger journeys
· Feasibility study casts serious doubt over TfL’s spurious “£4M cost” to rename one tube station

Private companies sponsoring the tube can overhaul the tube system for London's commuters by footing the bill for major projects such as free 4G, lifts and TV screens.

A new report “Sealing the Deal: TfL sponsorship feasibility study” shows industry experts backing the huge benefits tube sponsorship can bring to passenger journeys, in addition to bearing down on fares. As part of any sponsorship deal, there is potential for companies to pay for or significantly contribute towards specific upgrades or improvements to stations such as mobile phone connectivity at tube platforms, TV news broadcasts on platforms, lifts, ramps, station deep cleans, toilets and water fountains.

The study also casts serious doubt over Transport for London’s (TfL) cost estimates for renaming tube stations. TfL estimates that it costs £4 million to rename a Zone 1 tube station – £2 million initially and £2 million to change signage back at the end of the deal.1 This is in stark contrast to the £8,500 cost of changing the signage across the network – twice – when Blackfriars was temporarily closed between 2009-20122.

Sponsorship_FeasibilityDownload the Report PDF here

The breakdown of the £4M cost from TfL includes spurious figures such as £150K to record new digital voice announcements3, £350K to change the tube map, bus and cycle guides and timetables4, £150K to make changes to the TfL website5, and £2M to change the signage back at the end of any sponsorship deal.6

Gareth speaking about his previous report on Tube sponsorship Untapped Resource

Gareth Bacon, Conservative London Assembly Member and author of the feasibility study said:

“As the Mayor is about to make another announcement on fare increases, it is time he forced TfL to seriously consider costed and realistic ways to bear down on passenger fares. In addition to helping curb fares, tube sponsorship can help revolutionise the tube system for Londoners. More so, it is ludicrous that TfL is currently splashing out millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on expensive projects without even considering bringing in the private sector to help foot the bill.

Transport bosses must start proactively seeking sponsorship and inviting expressions of interest from firms, making clear they are open for business. TfL should also explore ways in which sponsors can improve the commuter experience for Londoners, such as paying for smaller improvements to a station, for example installing TV screens and water fountains, which TfL are unlikely to pursue on their own. Finally, TfL need to stop exaggerating their costs, which simply do not stack up. Instead, they should look to minimise costs wherever possible, for example by structuring contracts in such a way that these costs are part of the sponsorship deal.”



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1 Answer to Mayors Question –
3 When voice announcements were rolled out for the bus network, “voice and studio” costs were only £87,202 for the recording of tens of thousands of announcements. Therefore recording and programming new announcements for one station is going to cost much less than this, and certainly not the £150,000 stated by TfL
4 Printing maps timetables and guides is a constant and on-going cost for TfL and would simply be absorbed by the regular programme of updating and maintaining the map, therefore this is unlikely to represent the real cost. Furthermore, when the tube map was updated in March 2011 to reflect changes to step-free access, the total cost, including re-design and the printing of 7 million pocket maps, was £77,295
5 £150k is more than TfL has been spending monthly on average to redesign their new and highly complex journey planner.
6 After a sponsorship deal, TfL would not have to pay for brand new digital voice announcements nor tube maps, bus and cycle guides as these will already be regularly updated and maintained – regardless of any sponsorship deal having taken place. There is also the possibility that another company could step in at the end of the current sponsorship deal and take over naming rights, hence absorbing costs as part of a deal

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