Keith Prince AM: Crowdfunding Transport for London

Organisations are continuously having to find new and innovative ways of financing projects and the public sector is no different.

Crowdfunding has enjoyed a boom in recent years with websites such as Kickstarter and Gofundme encouraging the general public to invest cash in new ideas and businesses.

With this backdrop, my latest report considers the benefits crowdfunding might bring to transport infrastructure in the capital.

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Transport for London (TfL) is an organisation set to lose £640million from its budget over the next four years thanks to Sadiq Khan’s disastrous ‘fares freeze’.

On top of that, it needs to find at least another £30million to cover the cost of the Mayor’s new bus hopper ticket.

TfL currently makes decisions on infrastructure projects based on a benefit to cost ratio. Many good ideas fail to come to fruition because they fall narrowly short of this strict benchmark.

It is here that crowdfunding could provide an important cash injection to drag projects off the scrap heap and take them over the line.

It is not unfeasible to assume local campaigners and small businesses would be willing to contribute to transport infrastructure projects that would benefit themselves and their local area.

For example if a new tram extension in south London required an additional £100,000 to make it feasible, many businesses and stakeholders could help make up the shortfall.

Investors would be rewarded with a return for their cash in the form of discounted tickets or promotional space, for example.

This kind of scheme puts Londoners in the driving seat and empowers people to improve their local infrastructure and boost the local economy. 

My report, Crowdfunding Transport, suggests TfL creates a website where it could list proposals that could be assisted by crowdfunding.

I believe this could make a real difference to the way projects in London are considered and could pave the way for the creation of better local infrastructure across the capital.

Clearly crowdfunding is not the only solution but at a time when financial pressures on the organisation are increasing this is a sensible idea for generating greater investment. 

TfL and the Mayor have a duty to ensure the city’s transport infrastructure continues to grow to meet the demands of an increasing population.

If money is going to be taken from the budget by the hundreds of millions, as it so far has, it is vitally important other means of funding are found, and quickly.


Keith Prince is the London Assembly Member for Havering & Redbridge, and a councillor in Redbridge. He is the former Leader of Redbridge Council, a past councillor in Havering, and was a former marketing manager for LBC Radio.

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