Diageo sponsors free London NYE travel

Drinks maker Diageo has taken over from loan firm Wonga.com to sponsor free travel on London’s transport network on New Year’s Eve for the next three years.

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The sponsorship forms part of Diageo’s wider responsible drinking programme, which includes backing public alcohol awareness campaigns and creating initiatives aimed at helping people drink alcohol more responsibly.

Diageo’s brand ambassador Lewis Hamilton will be used to promote the New Year’s Eve event and will also be the face of a responsible drinking advertising campaign that will appear across the Transport for London (TfL) network.

Travellers at some central London stations will also be offered free bottles of water featuring tips on how to drink responsibly on New Year’s Eve.

Free travel will apply on the underground, DLR, bus and tram network from 23.45 on New Year’s Eve until 04.30 on New Year’s Day. London Overground passengers will also benefit from free travel on trains running after 23.45 on 31 December until the last train times.

Andrew Cowan, country director for Diageo Great Britain, says: “Getting home safely is often the final stage of a great night out but it is just one part, which is why we are using our sponsorship of free travel this New Year to remind people to drink responsibly.”

London mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London courted controversy last year for accepting sponsorship from high interest loan company Wonga.com for the 2010 New Year’s Eve free travel scheme, with one London Assembly member branding the decision “shameful”.

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