Metronet in PR drive to manage tube disruption

London Underground’s biggest private maintenance contractor Metronet has launched a drive to promote its work and consult with stakeholders over any disruptions caused across the tube network.

Metronet external comms manager Amanda Claassen said its undertaking was designed to ensure project managers were aware of their potential impact and could keep local communities informed. ‘We are going to have an impact on London and we want informed communities in the areas we are working,’ she said.

Work around stations in residential areas would have more community involvement and would look at local concerns, such as calls for better lighting. Marketing will drive work around more urban stations, highlighting the improvements to underground services.

The Metronet consortium, which consists of Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF Energy and RWE Thames Water, has drafted in CSR specialist Corporate Culture to make an initial assessment of the local comms challenges around three of its projects.

In the first phase of the comms task, Metronet will collect data on the impact of its work at Bow Road and Oxford Circus tube stations as well as the western end of the Central Line.

The second phase will use the information gathered to roll out a communications programme for all of the 160 tube stations that Metronet’s work will affect.

Metronet is contracted to spend £17bn over the next 30 years upgrading, replacing and maintaining nine of London Underground’s 12 lines.

It has earmarked £7bn for new trains, track, signalling and station refurbishment in the first seven-and-a-half years, which works out at £2.5m a day.

Metronet asked three agencies to pitch for the contract. The consortium’s retained public affairs agency, Lexington Communications, declined to pitch for the business, leaving The Smart Company to square off against Corporate Culture.

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