Flop of the month: train operators' comms teams left in sidings over fare rises

PRWeek writer Mark Banham says the story that never fails to materialise in the post-Christmas gloom seems to have caught the comms departments at Britain's train companies napping yet again.

Train operators: "Someone needs to pull the emergency cord ."
Train operators: "Someone needs to pull the emergency cord ."

"The best Michael Roberts, the director-general of the Rail Delivery Group, could do was insist that this year’s average fare increase of 2.8 per cent was the lowest in four years and that the rail industry was ‘working hard to get more for every pound it spends’. It was a platitude that austerity-squeezed commuters baulked at when approached by TV and newspaper reporters.

The annual fare rise debacle has become a runaway train, with even outside parties leaping on to the locomotive to benefit from the shambles defending these rises has become.

Estate agent Haart latched on to the unfavourable publicity by releasing a set of statistics suggesting it cancelled out any financial benefit to moving out of London, gazumping other messages.

Someone needs to pull the emergency cord on this annual nightmare, as the lack of an informative comms strategy is causing public exasperation."

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