Boris seeks sponsor for "hotly anticipated" hire bike scheme...

The search is on for a sponsor for the London cycle hire scheme.

The scheme, due for a May 2010 launch, will allow Londoners and visitors to the capital to pick up and drop off hire bikes at 400 locations across the nine London boroughs and several royal parks that make up the zone one travel area.

An initial 6,000 hire bikes are expected to support around 40,000 extra daily cycle trips in central London in a scheme similar to the Parisian Vélib scheme.

But unlike the Vélib, which is partly funded by advertising revenue from hoardings placed near docking stations, the London version will not be an advertising based scheme, and therefore needs a high profile sponsor.

Stories have claimed the non-advertising element is deterring potential operators but Transport for London (TfL) denies this, saying there has been plenty of interest.

TfL announced today it is seeking a single company to act as a sponsor for up to the first five years of the scheme, setting out the sponsorship opportunities as:

• The chance to put their name to the London Cycle Hire scheme
• Branding opportunities on the cycle scheme’s bicycles, maintenance support vehicles and uniforms of maintenance staff
• Joint PR opportunities and media partnerships
• Co-branding on TfL marketing initiatives for the Cycle Hire scheme
• The benefits of being associated with one of the largest sustainable public transport systems in the UK

Boris Johnson says: "The public response to our cycle hire plans has been fantastic, and I'm sure that this excitement will be replicated amongst potential sponsors. I know people will be attracted to the scheme, but such is the widespread enthusiasm that I am certain that the selected company will also feel a huge benefit to being part of it. This - London's next transport icon - will be the cleanest, greenest, and healthiest way of getting about the city."

Peter Hendy, London’s Commissioner of Transport, said: “From its launch in May 2010, the London Cycle Hire scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, throughout central London. This means our selected sponsor will have a unique opportunity to promote their brand to a massive public audience, while being closely associated with the greenest, most sustainable form of public transport London has ever had.”

Companies interested in becoming the sponsor can find out more here https://tfl.bravosolution.co.uk. The closing date for initial bids is noon, June 5, 2009. For more information on the cycle hire scheme visit www.tfl.gov.uk/cyclehire

Which company do you think would make an appropriate sponsor for the London Cycle Hire Scheme – post your suggestions below.