The partnership will see new services including a world-first Santander Cycles app, which will make it more easy to locate and book a bike, and substantial rebranding.
The new red-and-white livery of the 11,500 bikes, 748 docking stations and 32 service vehicles will also accompany a rebrand of staff uniforms and bike membership keys.
The Spanish bank takes over sponsorship of the controversial cycle hire scheme from Barclays, which decided to cut short rather than pursue the deal for its Barclay Bikes until 2018.
Santander will pay £6.25m a year for the rights and contribute a further annual £1m to promote and grow the scheme.
This compares to £5m a year under the previous sponsorship. It is a 45% increase in absolute terms and a 25% increase in real terms.
To promote the cycle for hire scheme, TfL and Santander will jointly host family-focused events in London parks while all 50 of Santander’s central London branches will heavily advertise the scheme.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson says Santander’s marketing expertise ‘will help us take the Cycle Hire scheme to a new level’.
“With my Cycling Vision about to bear fruit in new Superhighways, Quietway cycle routes and better junctions, there will be more opportunities than ever for Santander Cycles,” said Johnson. “It couldn’t be a better time to get involved in cycling.”
“The Santander Cycles Scheme is a great example of our commitment to supporting the communities in which we operate across the UK,” concluded Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK.