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Bus companies join free travel for Ukrainians scheme

BUS companies in Cardiff and the Vale have joined in with the Welsh Government’s latest scheme to offer free bus travel to refugees and people from Ukraine.

Stagecoach South Wales and Cardiff Bus have joined the ‘welcome ticket’ scheme which will allow free bus travel for refugees and those arriving in Wales from Ukraine.

The scheme, which has been announced today – May 8 – builds on the free six-month rail pilot previously announced.

The ‘welcome ticket’ scheme will run for six months and end on September 30. It will include travel into England if the journey begins or finishes in Wales.

Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change, said: “This free bus scheme – called ‘welcome ticket’ – will be available to all refugees who are already here or are arriving in Wales and will allow unlimited free travel on the majority of local bus services across Wales and those operating to England, if they start or finish in Wales.

“This is a major step forward in ensuring refugees and people from Ukraine can travel freely across Wales – it will help them to integrate into Wales and make a positive contribution to our nation.

“I want to pay tribute to all those bus companies across Wales for taking part in this scheme – it demonstrates their commitment to making Wales a real nation of sanctuary.”

People who are eligible for the scheme will have to show the driver proof of their eligibility by producing either their passport, visa or biometric residence permit. They will then be given a ‘welcome ticket’ by the driver.

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Alongside this, Cadw have announced details of their scheme to offer free individual or family entry to all Cadw sites for refugees and those seeking sanctuary in Wales. This offer will run until October 25.

To receive this, refugees, asylum seekers or people from Ukraine will need to show appropriate documentation from the Home Office. This includes a biometric residence permit, an asylum registration card, a Ukraine scheme visa or a Ukrainian passport or a Home Office letter or email which states the visitor has been granted some form of leave to enter or remain or is awaiting the outcome of their asylum application.

Dawn Bowden, deputy minister for arts and sport, said: “I’m delighted to see Cadw playing its part in showing what being a nation of sanctuary means.

“This offer will be in place until October 25, ensuring all those who come to Wales seeking sanctuary will have the opportunity to view and visit Welsh cultural and heritage sites across the country free of charge.”

Jane Hutt, minister for social justice, added: “We’ve made great strides in delivering on our promise to be a nation of sanctuary in Wales. These announcements show this commitment in action.

“Being a nation of sanctuary means welcoming people to Wales and providing them with help and support to settle into their lives in Wales. We’re very proud we can extend these fantastic schemes to people from Ukraine.

“We firmly believe the skills, experience and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers are an asset to Wales – that’s why we’re proud to extend the welcome and support their ambitions to thrive in Wales. This is what being a nation of sanctuary is all about.

“We want to ensure that these individuals are supported to rebuild their lives and make a full contribution to Welsh society.”

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