Bus and train operator Stagecoach, whose company South West Trains
has suffered from consistently negative media coverage, is looking for a
corporate PR agency with experience of the City, to improve its
On Monday night Stagecoach invited six agencies, including incumbent
Lowe Bell Financial, to pitch for the account. It is understood that
Shandwick Consultants and Burson-Marsteller have also been approached,
although both consultancies declined to comment.
Lowe Bell has handled media enquiries and financial PR for Stagecoach
for five years.
Media House International handles its PR in Scotland. That account is
not being reviewed. Speaking on behalf of Stagecoach, MHI chief
executive Jack Irvine said the company was pleased with Lowe Bell’s work
but added: ’As a plc they have a duty to review all of their
The new account is a larger one and will involve improving the image of
the privatised rail industry as a whole, as well as that of South West
The train company hit the headlines in February when it cancelled scores
of services after allowing too many drivers to take voluntary
Stagecoach needs to clean up its corporate image in the light of its
bid, announced this month, to run London Luton Airport.
The company also operates buses in Sweden, Colombia and several African
countries. The new PR account will only cover activities in the UK.
In Britain, Stagecoach owns Porterbrook Leasing Company, which rents
rolling stock, Bluebird Buses and Fife Scottish buses, Western Buses and
Stagecoach-branded bus companies which operate in 15 different parts of