Transport for London has given media organisations until 21 April to express an interest in bidding for the contract for a free afternoon paper in the capital, meaning London could have a new daily paper by Christmas.
News of the tender follows Associated Newspapers’ decision to allow the distribution racks for its free morning paper Metro to be used by another newspaper group after an OFT ruling.
Associated is expected to be one of the companies bidding for the contract. Other newspaper groups believed to be interested include Express Newspapers, Guardian Newspapers and News International.
According to Transport for London, invitations to tender will be sent out in the second week of June and the tenders themselves are expected to have a deadline of early August. The winning company is expected to be announced in the autumn.
The contract notice published by TFL reveals that the new paper will be distributed at 240 London Underground stations using 800 Metro racks Monday to Friday between 1pm and 9.30pm.
TFL has said it welcomes applications from "environmentally responsible candidates" and also pointed out that it "embraces"
In exchange for annual payments TFL will award the contract for 90 months and it has stated that the deal will go to "the most economically advantageous tender".