Refugee Survival Trust in partnership with five community organisations are commencing a scheme to provide free bus travel to people seeking asylum living in Glasgow through the provision of a 12-week digital First Bus pass, along with information and digital support to access and use the pass.
This work is being funded by a grant from the Paths for All Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund and will run until summer 2023. It will extend the work undertaken by Refugee Survival Trust and third sector partners in previous years to improve access to bus travel for refugees and people in the asylum system and will help a further 150 people in Glasgow.
Participants in the project will be asked to provide information on how often they make use of bus travel and the reasons that journeys are made. They will feedback on how having access to bus travel positively impacts their lives.
One participant commented “I’m very excited …. I don’t have the right to work so paying for a bus ticket, which costs £5.00, out of my £45 weekly stipend is a straight choice between eating and travelling. I will no longer have to pass on educational activities, community engagements and appointments with solicitors and the doctor. My friends live 3 bus rides from me on the other side of Glasgow, a bus pass will mean no more involuntary isolation, which in my case, brought on depression.”
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said:
“I’m pleased that Scottish Government funding is supporting this free bus travel pilot in Glasgow. Around 150 people seeking asylum in Glasgow will benefit from free bus travel through a 12-week bus pass.
“The information gathered from this pilot will help inform options on how to deliver our Programme for Government commitment – to consider how best to provide free bus travel to people seeking asylum, right across Scotland.
“I’m grateful to the Refugee Survival Trust and selected partners for taking this work forward and I look forward to hearing more about the experiences people have of using this scheme.”
People seeking asylum in the UK are generally restricted from working and have no recourse to public funds. However, they need to travel to access legal advice, social support, medical appointments and get the essentials that everyone requires.
The New Scots refugee integration strategy is a partnership developed and led by the Scottish Government, COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council. Scottish Ministers have always been clear that people who seek asylum in Scotland should be welcomed and supported to integrate into our communities from day one.