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Greater Manchester can take back buses into public ownership, judge rules

GREATER MANCHESTER can legally take the district’s bus services back into public ownership and control after years of chaos in the hands of privateers, a judge has ruled.

The ruling, which was hailed as a “massive victory” by transport campaigners, came at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday following a judicial review brought by profiteering operators Stagecoach and Rotala.

Mr Justice Julian Knowles rejected the companies’ claims that public ownership was “irrational and unlawful.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Our union welcomes this victory because it can only be good news, and of great benefit, to the people of Greater Manchester.

“[Mayor] Andy Burnham has rightly shown the failed privatisation model in our bus and wider public transport network to be the rip-off it always was.

“What we would like to see now is the removal of greedy privateers altogether on our bus routes – time and again this has been shown to be an abject failure, as on our rail network.”

He said that economic recovery and climate protection “demands that we have public transport run for people, not profit.”

The We Own It campaign said: “Today’s ruling is a massive victory and could be life-changing for many communities across the country, not just in Greater Manchester.

“For the first time in over 35 years, a bus network outside London will be integrated and planned for the benefit of local people, not distant shareholders.

“With Manchester setting the pace, now is the time for the leaders of other regions to put their foot on the accelerator and drive forward better buses too.”

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