London attacks bolster comms resolve of mass transit advocates

WASHINGTON: The attacks on London and its transit system are being felt by government communicators and advocates on both sides of the Atlantic.

WASHINGTON: The attacks on London and its transit system are being felt by government communicators and advocates on both sides of the Atlantic.

While London's authorities have been working overtime to keep the media and public informed, mass transit groups in the US are using the tragedy to push for greater security funding and awareness.

Shortly after the bombs went off on July 7, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) issued a statement highlighting the disproportionate sum of federal money that US mass transit agencies had received for security upgrades since 9/11.

APTA, which represents more than 1,500 organizations worldwide, including the London Underground, said Congress had allocated only $250 million in federal security funding to the public transportation industry since 9/11, while the aviation industry had received $18.1 billion.

The association claims that 32 million Americans take public transportation each day, compared to 2 million who fly on domestic airlines.

"Every reporter picked that up," said APTA communications director Virginia Miller.

On the day of the attacks in London, government PR teams simultaneously tried to make sense of the tragedy and keep the media updated.

Transport for London press officers were present at the affected Underground stations to keep media out of the way of emergency services, while the rest of the team dispersed information via e-mails, helped handle interview requests, and arranged a midday press conference with police.

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