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As the situation in Ukraine continues to unfold, more and more people are leaving their home every day. So far, according to UNHCR, two million people have fled to neighbouring countries. This number is expected to rise.
Public transport has acted swiftly. Our sector has put measures in place to support those fleeing from Ukraine, many of whom have lost everything.
UITP is pleased to see the sector step up in these times of need. It shows we take our responsibility to provide essential mobility seriously. Below is an overview of actions taken across Europe to help. We will keep updating and adding any new initiatives over the coming weeks.
The Transdev Group announced various support measures for Ukrainian refugees. Transdev will initiate a program for 1,000 Ukrainian refugees which involves welcoming them into the Group and providing training to allow them to work as bus or coach drivers, or mechanics.
In addition, Transdev is providing assistance to the families of its employees affected by the conflict in the Ukraine. In Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Group is collecting equipment, providing assistance for the repatriation of employees’ families and, in particular, chartering buses at the Ukrainian border. In Germany specifically, the Group has announced that Ukrainian refugees will be able to use trains on the NordWestBahn, Mitterdeutsche Regiobahn and Bayerische RegioBahn networks free of charge.
Furthermore, Transdev, with the Carius network, has mobilised a team of ambulance driverstodeliver15 equipped ambulances to the border of the conflict, driven by volunteer employee drivers.
The Southern-German rail operator Bayerische Regiobahn provided a train with 333 seats and 4 toilets for refugees waiting in line to register, providing some form of warmth and comfort in a horrendous situation.
Die Bayerische Regiobahn #BRB hat spontan für #Geflüchtete aus der #Ukraine im Bhf Freilassing einen Aufenthaltszug mit 333 Sitzplätzen und 4 Toiletten bereitgestellt.Die Menschen können die Wartezeit bis zur Registrierung und Weiterreise im Warmen verbringen. #transdev #nowar pic.twitter.com/gX63fFjaG7
— Transdev Deutschland (@TransdevDE) March 7, 2022
All refugees from Ukraine travel free of charge for their arrival in the Netherlands on presentation of a Ukrainian passport or identity card. When the entrance gates at a station are closed, they can report to the service desk for a free day pass or leave the station by using the button on the service pillar.
The free travel with public transport in the Netherlands is meant for entering the country and subsequent journeys to be reunited with family members.
To help Ukrainian families travel to safety, also the Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands, offers free travel to refugees.
To all refugees of Ukraine, your passport is your train ticket to the Netherlands. We hope NS can play an active part in helping Ukranian families travel to safety at this time. We wish you safe travels.#StandWithUkrainehttps://t.co/NVqj6CetGA
— NS online (@NS_online) March 1, 2022
In Stockholm, valid passports are treated as tickets for the city’s public transport network. Also, as a sign of support, Stockholm Public Transport (SL) has decided to light up all escalators in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
The Association of German Transport Companies announced on 3 March that “from now on, Ukrainian refugees can use all buses and trains of local public transport in Germany free of charge.” The regulation applies to all local trains, subways, trams, city trains, and buses.
The Ukrainian passport or identity card is considered a valid ticket. In its announcement though, VDV made special note of refugees without a Ukrainian passport, encouraging appropriate goodwill when checking tickets.
To help Ukrainian nationals travelling to the UK, Eurostar offers a free Eurostar ticket from any Eurostar station to London St. Pancras International.
Since 1stMarch, Ukrainian refugees have been able to use public transport for free to travel to their destinations in Switzerland or to travel through the country. The validity of the Alliance SwissPass is now being extended to all domestic journeys. Refugees who are taken in can travel by public transport for free until 31 May 2022 in Switzerland in 2ndclass on all journeys within the Swiss travel pass network.
Privately owned passenger rail operator RegioJet partnered with Ukrainian Railways, Člověk v tísni, ČD Cargo & Rail Cargo Group to provide a daily humanitarian night train land bridge between Prague and Kiev. The first service took place during the night of 1st March.
The train carries 600 pallets of food to Kiev and offers 400 beds for evacuees back to Prague. The service is free-of-charge for its users.
The Danish rail operator DSB announced free travel for Ukrainians, where a Ukrainian passport, driving licence or other document showing that the traveler resides in Ukraine serves as a ticket. In a Facebook post the company said: “The terrible situation in Ukraine may mean that refugees will come to Denmark seeking safety. We hope to give a little help in a difficult situation.”
SNCF allowed Ukrainian refugees to travel on all high-speed and intercity trains for free. Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO of Groupe SNCF: “The drama in Ukraine affects us all. The Groupe SNCF and its workers stand in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees.”
Wiener Linien allowed people who have fled Ukraine to use its entire network without a ticket between 1 March and 15 March. “In times like these, we see it as our responsibility to provide quick and unbureaucratic help”, said the Austrian public transport provider. Wiener Linien is also examining long-term support for those affected.
— Wienerinnen Linien (@wienerlinien) February 25, 2022
Deutsche Bahn made its long-distance trains from Poland to Germany free for refugees with a Ukrainian passport or identity card. The German rail operator also committed to providing additional transport capacity together with the Polish State Railways to meet increased demand.
Ukrainische Geflüchtete können jetzt mit 40 internationalen Fernzügen aus Polen, Tschechien und Österreich einreisen. In Deutschland sichert das #helpukraine-Ticket die kostenlose Weiterfahrt – auch ins Ausland. Mehr unter: https://t.co/O2GycIksGt #Ukraine #WeStandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/ht1HlN104B
— Deutsche Bahn AG (@DB_Presse) March 2, 2022
Flixbus started offering extra connections from the Polish-Ukrainian border on 25 February and has been organising individual trips. Its busses also carry goods and relief supplies back to and across the border into Ukraine.
Like many other public transport operators, Flixbus offers free transport from Bucharest, Przemyśl and Rzeszów. Some 40 buses filled up in the first 15 hours.
Leo Express, a private rail and bus carrier, offers free train tickets from Košice, Slovakia to the rest of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The operator also increased bus frequency between Košice and the Ukrainian city of Mukachevo.
Ukrainian citizens travel free of charge with PKP Intercity trains to any destination in Poland. The operator also runs extra trains and added bilingual labels to its carriages. So far, more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have been able to travel west on PKP Intercity trains.
While the trains from Ukraine to Poland help get refugees to safety, the trains in the opposite direction are filled with basic provisions and medical supplies.
The Polish State Railways (PKP) announced that all Ukrainian citizens can travel free-of-charge on intercity