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First a bit of background: Thatcher deregulated bus services in England (outside London, which was deemed too important to be the victim of her free market experiments) back in the 1980s. Since then, as with most public utilities that get flogged off to vulture capitalists, fares have been skyrocketing while the quality of service has declined. Now, my hometown of Bristol, among others, is openly proposing to bring them back under democratic control.