Beyond the various production stations (factory, shipyards, medical lab) there isn't much use beyond having them at the moment. Trade stations allow you to access the NPC market, but they need to be owned by a trade faction to be able to do so.
Obviously in the future, the other station types will get more features, such as the R&D stations having an effect on R&D, recycling stations (if they don't already that is) being able to recycle things, warstations firing at ships, etc.
A lot of people felt that just being managed would better fit with how everything else works, but the devs wanted to require trade factions to own them to access it. Presumably to try to avoid people assigning a station, making a bid, then unassigning the station and moving on with their lives.
Thanks Ellias, I see that could happen. I just think that if people where able to build and let trade factions run then you would have more stations open to the public. To avoid the problem you mention perhaps it would be better to simply add a 30 day timer from last bid so people could not unassign or change crewlist until said time was down to 0 days.