Welsh Government Introduces Free Bus Travel Scheme for Refugees - ‘Welcome Ticket’
The scheme is available for all refugees travelling to Wales searching for a safe haven in line with Welsh Government’s Nation of Sanctuary vision on production of valid proof of eligibility as listed under the terms and conditions of the scheme.
The free travel scheme started on 26 March and will continue until 31 March 2024 pending a further review.
The scheme provides unlimited travel on :
- All participating local bus services
- Transport for Wales rail services across Wales
- Bus and train services that cross into England if starting or finishing in Wales
To understand more about taking part in the scheme, the eligibility requirements and participating bus operators, you can find the available Terms & Conditions below.
The Wales Free Bus Travel for Refugees Scheme, hereafter will be referred to as ‘the scheme’.
The scheme brand for all public communication is the ‘Welcome Ticket’.
The scheme provides eligible persons with free unlimited travel on all local bus services across Wales under 'List of participating bus companies', including those that operate into England where your journey starts or finishes in Wales.
The proof of eligibility required to access free bus travel as defined is listed under 'Eligibility' below.
The scheme is available for all refugees and those seeking international protection in Wales, in line with our Nation of Sanctuary vision on production of one of the following:
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) marked that someone is a ‘Refugee’, has ‘HP’ or ‘Humanitarian Protection’, or includes the words ‘Afghan’, ‘Ukraine’ or ‘Hong Kong’
- Personally addressed letter issued by the Home Office / Home Secretary confirming anyone of the statuses in subsection a; or
- Valid Ukrainian, Afghan or Hong Kong British National Overseas passport.
Sample examples of Biometric British Residence Permit (BRP); Vignette and immigration officer clearance stamp example:
British Residence Permit (BRP)
Free bus travel on production of valid proof (Eligibility) will be available on local bus services operating wholly within Wales or where the trip originates or terminates in Wales.
Times of operation
There are no restrictions on the time during which free bus travel will be provided on production of valid proof as defined under heading (4) of this document.
Types of journey
There are no restrictions on the type of journey purpose for which free bus travel is provided.
Ticket discount and restrictions
There are no restrictions.
Free bus travel is for use by the named individual under the terms of eligibility as per (Eligibility) of this document and is not transferable, but will cover a family unit travelling together including children.
Any refugee children that are accessing primary or secondary education in Wales will still need to apply to the relevant local authority for transport if eligible.
Free bus travel will be withdrawn if misused / used by anyone other than the person(s) eligible and may result in criminal proceedings.
Application of discount on bus
The user is required to present their proof of Eligibility to the bus driver when boarding a bus to obtain the relevant discount. Persons unable to present proof of eligibility will not be eligible to free travel and will be required to pay the full stated fare.
Bus company representatives retain the right to inspect proof of eligibility as a part of the verification process and reducing fraud.
Rules and regulations
Each bus company’s rules and regulations apply when free travel is made on production of proof of eligibility and/or other ticketing.
The scheme commenced on 26 March 2022 and will continue until 31 March 2024. Arrangements for after 31 March 2024 are being considered.
There is no application window as the user will produce the proof of eligibility required to participate in the scheme to the bus driver when boarding the bus for immediate free travel on local bus services in Wales.
This scheme will not involve the issue of any specific travel cards to the user. Those eligible for free travel will be required to conform to the requirements of eligible proof as listed under 'Eligibility' of this document. Those eligible for free travel will be issued with the ‘Welcome Ticket’ zero value travel ticket from the bus driver when boarding on the bus for the journey being made.
Free travel is not valid on long distance coach services provided by National Express and Stagecoach Megabus.
For details about these services including times please use the following contact information:
National Express: Contact Us
Stagecoach MegaBus: Making Travel Simple
Proof of eligibility under (Eligibility) of this document does not entitle or guarantee carriage on any bus service at any time, or give rise to expectation of the continuation of existing services or provision of new services.
Individual operator conditions of carriage also apply for journeys made.
The scheme is only available to those eligible through the production of valid proof as listed under 'Eligibility' of the scheme’s terms and conditions to the bus driver when boarding the bus. Fraudulent use will result in free transport being withdrawn immediately to the individual(s) in question and will be reported to the relevant authorities and may lead to prosecution.
Changes to Terms and Conditions
The Terms and Conditions of this scheme may be subject to change. Any changes will be reflected in updated Terms and Conditions made available.
List of participating bus companies
All bus companies operating registered local bus services across Wales are participating in the scheme as from 1 August 2022.