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Victory rally as West Yorkshire bus services brought back under public control

TRANSPORT campaigners celebrated victory today as West Yorkshire’s bus services were brought back under public control by Labour Mayor Tracy Brabin.

The decision was announced after a meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority in Leeds, as We Own It campaign supporters rallied in the streets outside.

Bus services outside London were deregulated in 1986, handing control to profiteers who axed hundreds of unprofitable routes, particularly in rural areas.

Campaigners recently submitted a 12,000-signature petition to Ms Brabin’s office calling for West Yorkshire’s buses to return to public control, prompting the region to follow the example of Manchester and Liverpool, which have already done so.

Privateers will still run services, but under franchises awarded by the combined authority.

We Own It activist Sean Topham, who led the Better Buses for West Yorkshire campaign, said: “Like the sewage in our rivers and our spiralling energy bills, introducing profit-hungry shareholders to our bus network has led to daily suffering for people in West Yorkshire.

“Throwing off the dead hand of the Wild West bus market around Leeds will help add services, lower fares and boost reliability.

“But it hasn’t just happened. It’s been a labour of love by over 12,000 of our supporters, who refused to let our region be left behind by our neighbours in the north-west.”

Announcing the decision, Ms Brabin said: “For too long, buses have been run in the interests of private companies, not passengers. 

“Franchising will help us build a better-connected bus network that works for all, not just company shareholders.”   

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