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End to the Welcome Ticket Scheme

In a statement written on 7th March, the Welsh Government have confirmed the end of the Welcome Ticket scheme, providing free public transport for refugees in Wales. The scheme ended on 31st March.

The Welcome Ticket scheme has been vital in providing essential mobility for refugees in Wales, offering people the means to access vital services, employment opportunities, and community engagement. It has made a real difference for those who are beginning to build their lives in Wales. We worry that the gap in this scheme will worsen issues of discrimination and exclusion.

Any transition between schemes must prioritise the continuity of support for refugees, and address the underlying issues that have arisen during the implementation of the Welcome Ticket scheme. The incidents of discrimination and racism faced by refugees (and asylum seekers) on public transport are deeply concerning and underscore the need for a more robust and inclusive approach to service provision.

The proposed development of a smart card system, as discussed previously with members of the Welsh Government, is a promising solution to ensure fair and consistent access to transportation services for refugees. In terms of specific calls to action, we believe it is essential to advocate for the development of the smart card system and to address systemic issues contributing to discrimination and prejudice on public transport. This is an opportunity to standardise free travel for refugees, and make it such that there is no ambiguity for bus drivers.

Not only this, but we strongly advocate for extending free transport rights to people seeking asylum. Asylum seekers, who are without recourse to public funds and have no right to work, face significant barriers to mobility and integration. Providing free transport for both refugees and asylum seekers represents a tangible step towards realising Wales’ vision as a Nation of Sanctuary.

Swansea City of Sanctuary
Swansea Asylum Seekers Support
ILA-WALES CIC: Iberians & Latin Americans in Wales
Swansea Council for Voluntary Service

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