• Transform magazine
  • July 15, 2024


London cycle scheme rebrands red


Ownership of London’s ‘Boris bikes’ is passing into new hands, Spanish bank Santander.

The bikes will lose their trademark blue in favour of the bank’s signature red. The scheme itself is very popular with Londoners, but has until now been inherently tied-up with the Barclays brand, as well as London mayor Boris Johnson.

Jenna Henshaw, chief press officer at Transport for London, says, “Over the next year Londoners will see more Santander Cycles on the street, extra docking points and a revolutionary new Santander Cycles app, making it easier to access a bike than ever before. TfL and Santander will work together to engage new users via family-focused events in London parks, support throughout 50 of Santander’s central London branches and more active promotion of new developments for the scheme.”

Santander aims to promote and grow the scheme with new bikes, extra docking stations and a new app. Johnson says, “If anyone still persists in calling them ‘Boris bikes’ rather than Santander I will change my name to Santander Johnson.”

Johnson insists that the new red colour of the bike scheme has nothing to do with previous London mayor, Ken Livingstone, and says that it is intended to match the iconic red of London’s phone boxes and double decker buses.

The new sponsorship contract is worth £7m a year and is expected to reduce public subsidy. The original deal with Barclays was intended to continue until 2018 but was cut short. Santander outbid Coca-Cola for the project and will rename the scheme “Santander Cycles”.

Henshaw adds, “The new name – Santander Cycles – and the new red-and-white livery of the 11,500 bikes, 748 docking stations and 32 service vehicles will become familiar sights to Londoners from April onwards. Staff uniforms and membership keys will also be rebranded.”