Boris Johnson and Transport for London’s financial secrecy over Oyster

An interesting little question and answer from the London Assembly:

Q. What has been the cost to the taxpayer of TfL [Transport for London] buying ownership of the Oyster brand? (Caroline Pidgeon)

A. Under the terms of the recent agreement between TfL, Electronic Data Systems and Cubic Transportation Systems TfL agreed to treat this information as being commercially confidential.

Certainly getting ownership of the Oyster brand could bring lots of benefits (though it raises the question of how it ended up in private hands in the first place and on what terms).

Spending 50p on it would be  a bargain. Spending £500 million would be a rip-off. The problem is, we don’t know whether or not a good deal was negotiated in our name. The figure is secret because TfL (proprietor: one Boris Johnson) agreed to keep it so – and Boris Johnson is happy with this state of affairs.

In other words – terribly sorry old bean, I know you might wondering whether we’re spending your shillings properly, but it’s all a jolly big secret.

Hat-tip: London Reconnections

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