Stagecoach embarks on PR agency search

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 image.

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

image.



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

arrangements periodically.’



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

Trains.



The train company hit the headlines in February when it cancelled scores

of services after allowing too many drivers to take voluntary

redundancy.



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

the country.



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