Opinion: The Big Question - How can public relations be used to make Londoners love the Tube?/London Underground has appointed its first ever director of communications at board level to take responsibility for press and all PR activities in a bid to impr



Shandwick International

’I think that Londoners do love the Tube but it’s a kind of love/hate

relationship. People like the idea of it but they want it to work


It has a great history and design heritage with things such as the tube

map. What is needed is a honest and direct communication programme.

There has been too much fudging around in the past. Londoners need to be

told the real story and this will help to drive investment. The major

problem with the tube is that it needs massive investment which will

have to come from the private sector - unfortunately it has got bogged

down with the mayoral debate. When the investment comes in, the LUL team

needs to communicate clearly.’


Freud Communications

’It is going to be a challenge to change the traditional view that a

trip on the Tube in rush hour is anything other than a degrading


This perception will remain until there is a commitment to delivering

real improvements to the service. Stage one of the campaign should be a

survey asking passengers what they want. Stage two of the campaign

should be to announce the most popular requests and an implementation


Providing a service that gets you around town quickly in a clean and

safeenvironment should not be too much to ask.’


Ludgate Public Affairs

’Londoners are glad that the Tube exists but they are never actually

going to love it. So the trick would be just to get people to hate it

less. Improving delays and congestion is expensive but you can improve

the passengers’ experience - mainly by making them less miserable. So a

campaign is needed which encourages people to smile a bit more and

generally be friendlier (taking care to avoid being cheesy!) A lot could

be done just with the posters and announcements. Also, perhaps London

Underground should employ some stand-up comedians - they would be lucky

to be sitting down - as ’secret customers’ to cheer people up.’


Liberal Democrat MP and London Mayor Candidate

’The priority should be getting more people out of their cars and onto

public transport. That means identifying those people who don’t use the

Tube at the moment and who probably won’t consider using it to get


Too often I see effort going into increasing the number of journeys made

by people who are already converted to using the Underground. While this

is good promotion for the Tube, the problem of congestion needs to be

tackled urgently. Should I win election I will look to the public

relations and marketing industries to find new ways to ’sell the Tube’

without selling off the Tube. I shall issue bonds to raise the

investment needed while making sure that the Tube stays in public hands

and continues to be run in the public interest.’

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