Wales: Refugees will no longer get free bus travel

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In the two years since the scheme was launched, the Welsh government estimated that about a million journeys had been taken using Welcome Ticket.

It was funded by the Bus Emergency Scheme, external and then the Bus Transition Fund, external, which were introduced to help bus and rail services recover after Covid – both of which have ended.

The Welsh government said it was considering how to introduce an improved scheme in the future.

Sioned Williams, Plaid Cymru’s spokeswoman on social justice, said scrapping the service, even for a short period of time, would have detrimental effects.

“Actions do speak louder than words. If we say we’re going to be a nation of sanctuary then we have to use those tools and means that we have to be able to support that vision. This was a crucial part of that support,” she said.

“These are very vulnerable people, they’re fleeing famine, persecution, war, who are trying to rebuild their lives.”

The Welsh government said it was intending “to establish a new phase which is sustainable and fit-for-purpose, ensuring our resources can be focused on those most in need”.

It added: “We will work closely with travel operators, local authorities, the third sector and sanctuary seekers, during the development of this new phase of the scheme.”

An update is expected in the summer.