Friday, 13 May 2022

Rotala Given Right to Appeal Decision on Bus Reform

Bus operator Rotala has won the right to appeal the decision which had cleared the road for bus reform in Greater Manchester. An unwelcome hurdle to Andy Burnham's plans to transform the bus network in move to a franchising. The hearing is expected to now take place this summer.

It was planned that the first franchised bus services would start from next year and serve the whole city-region by the end of 2024.

In March a judge ruled against firms Stagecoach and Rotala, who claimed the process taken by leaders to move to a franchising system, where operators had to bid to run services under public control, was 'irrational' and 'unlawful'.
Their arguments against the process included how changes wrought by Covid on the public transport network might impact the case for reform.

Greater Manchester had set their sights on a London-style network, where they set fares and routes with operators tendering to operate them.
Ironically The London style way of running buses is now struggling to survive the realities of life. Routes are being cut and Transport for London is being baled out by government assistance.
So now, Rotala has been given the chance to appeal the decision in March which has now been overturned when, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Julian Knowles ruled against the operators, adding: "Whilst I granted the plaintiffs permission to bring the review I dismiss the claims. In my judgement the mayor's decision and the process by which the Greater Manchester Combined Authority came to recommend the scheme was lawful."

Since Rotala sought permission at the Court of Appeal, the company has now been granted leave to appeal "certain aspects of the case".

The appeal case is expected to take place before August of this year.

Diamond Bus website here