Ukrainian migrant support hub

A gateway for Ukrainian migrants and those who support them to access information, events and services.
Шлюз для доступу до інформації, подій та послуг для українських мігрантів та тих, хто їх підтримує.

Transport guide

Getting around the city

If you have a smart phone, Google maps can be very useful to show you how to get to places – either by walking, driving or by public transport. It will show you what times buses and trains leave.

Buses & trams
1
Finding a journey

You can use Google Maps or the Network West Midlands website to find a route and bus times.

2
Buying a ticket

You can buy a ticket on the bus from the driver as you are getting on. Most buses accept contactless payment with your bank card, or you can pay in cash.

You can also buy a Swift card instead of buying paper tickets. Once you’ve bought a Swift card, you can either buy credit on your Swift card, then use it on a pay-as-you-go basis. This can be cheaper than buying individual tickets. Or you can buy longer term passes and tickets on your Swift card. To use you Swift card, just hold it on the card reader when you get on a bus or tram until the green light turns on.

Do my children need a ticket?

Bus travel is free for children under 5. Other children can buy a cheaper ticket.

3
Catching a bus

Buses will only stop at a bus stop they are scheduled to stop at. Bus stops will have either a board showing the bus routes that arrive at the stop, or a digital screen showing the next arrivals.

On the front of every bus, you'll see a number of the bus route and it's final destination.

Bus stop

You should signal to the bus driver that you want them to stop by holding your arm out. After they let you on, you will need to pay the driver before taking your seat, or show a valid ticket.

4
Getting off

Inside the bus, many buses will have a screen showing what the next stop is – but if not, you can ask the bus driver to tell you where your stop is. Before your stop, you should press one of the ‘stop’ buttons which will be throughout the bus, to tell the driver you want to get off.

Bus stop
How can I get cheaper tickets?
Free bus pass for people on the Homes For Ukraine scheme

Each pass will grant the holder 13 weeks of free travel on National Express bus routes.

To get your pass follow the instructions via this link:

Swift Cards

A Swift card is an electronic card that you can use to pay for travel on buses and trams. These can work out cheaper than buying individual paper tickets, and they offer several other passes that can work out cheaper if you regularly travel by bus or tram. You can buy a Swift card online, or from a Payzone shop.

Older person's bus pass

You can get a pass for free bus travel anywhere in England when you reach the female State Pension age. It will allow you to travel free during off-peak times (usually after 9.30 on week days and any time on weekends).

What is the State Pension age?

You can check your state pension age on the gov.uk website.

Disabled person's travel pass

People with specific disabilities may be able to get a free bus pass for travel anywhere in England. There are rules which say who is eligible for this. It includes people who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, who can't walk easily, who can't talk, or who have a significant learning disability, as well as some other disabilities. You can read the eligibility criteria and apply online.

Which bus companies can I use my ticket on?

There are several bus companies operating in the West Midlands, and many different kinds of tickets to choose from. Some of these are valid for specific bus companies, and others include both buses, trains and trams.

If you choose a ticket with (n) at the start of the name, it should be valid to use on any company.

Trains
1
Finding a journey

You can search for trains using one of many websites which will allow you to look up train times and buy tickets.

2
Buying a ticket

You should buy a ticket in the station before you get on the train, or in advance on the internet. Almost all stations have a ticket machine, and larger stations will have a ticket office. If neither is available, you can buy a ticket on the train from the ticket collector. You have the option to buy either a single journey ticket, or a return if you are coming back. A return ticket is usually cheaper than two single tickets.

What are off-peak and any time tickets?

When buying a ticket, you will see options for ‘off-peak’ and ‘any time’. Peak hours are before 9.30 – if you want wanting to travel before at this time, you will need an ‘any time’ ticket, . otherwise Otherwise, ‘off-peak’ tickets will be best. If buying a day return, this is only valid on the same calendar day – it is not a 24 hour24-hour period.

3
Finding your train

All stations have digital screens that will show you the next train to arrive at each platform. The screens will show the final destination of the train, the time it leaves, and the stops it will make, and the platform number.

Bus stop

The platform will be a number, sometimes with a letter after, such as 12B. If there is a letter it is telling you how far down platform 12 you will need to stand to find your train. There will be signs across the station to guide you to the right platform.

Bus stop

Some stations will have automatic ticket gates before the platform, where you will have to scan your paper ticket, or show a QR code if you have an electronic ticket on your mobile phone.

4
Finding your seat

Local trains do not have seat reservations, so you can sit wherever there is space. Long-distance train routes sometimes have seat reservations – this will either be shown on a screen above the seat, or there will be a ticket card placed on the top of the chair.

Bus stop

If your ticket has a reservation, find the right carriage and seat. The carriage will be a letter, such as 'C' and your seat number will be a number. The carriage letter will be displayed on the outside of the train.

If you don’t have a reservation, find an empty chair without a reservation. If the carriage has 'first class' on the outside you cannot sit in this carriage without a more expensive ticket.

If you have large luggage, there is often a luggage rack at the end of each carriage. If you have a small bag, you can put it on the overhead rack, or on the seat next to you.

Bus stop
5
Getting off

The name of each stop will be announced by the train driver shortly before it arrives. There is usually an electronic screen showing the upcoming stops.

Once your stop has been announced, gather your bags and walk to the nearest door. The doors may open automatically, but there is also an electronic button which you will need to press to get out on some trains.

How can I get cheaper tickets?

It's usually cheapest to buy travel tickets in advance, up to 3 months before you travel. You can do this online from any train company website such as The Train Line. For the cheapest possible deal, the website splitmyfare.co.uk can find you the cheapest possible route to your destination.

If you regularly travel by train, you might consider buying a rail card, which will give you a discount on most train tickets. Not everyone is eligible to buy a rail card – you can check if you’re eligible on the National Rail website.

Disabled Persons Railcard

People with certain disabilities or medical conditions can get a discount card which makes travel by train cheaper. This card is valid for trail travel within England, Scotland and Wales.

Where to get help
National Rail
Disabled Persons Railcard
Taking bags and large items on a train
How much luggage can I take?

You must be able to carry all your luggage yourself. The train staff can refuse to let you take very large items such as furniture and sports equipment on the train.

Do I have to pay extra to take luggage?

No

Can I take a bicycle on the train?

You can take bicycles on the train, but you may be refused if the train is busy.

Can I take my own food to eat or drink on the train?

Yes

What should I do if my train is cancelled?

If you have already bought a ticket, the train company must help you get to your destination. Talk to the train staff if possible - they may have arranged a replacement bus, or you can use your tickets on the next train that will get you to your destination.

What should I do if I have booked a ticket but there is a strike on the day of travel?

You can use your ticket on the next train from the same rail company. Alternatively, you are entitled to a refund from where you bought the ticket.

Taxis

Taxis are one of the most expensive ways to get around, but they can take you from door to door. Whilst some companies may allow you to book a taxi at a fixed fee, most taxis are paid for on a metred basis, depending on the length of your journey and time it took to get there. You will not pay extra if you have more than one person in the taxi. Taxi rides are not shared in the UK, so the driver will never pick up people you don’t know whilst you are on a journey.

It is safest and cheapest to book a taxi in advance. Bolt and Uber are the most popular apps for doing this.

Cycling

Birmingham is flat in most areas and has many dedicated bike lanes. Getting round on a bike is a cheap way to see the city and some of the parks and green spaces.

What are the rules of the road?

You can read about the rules of the road here.

Can I take a bicycle on the train?

You can take bicycles on the train, but you may be refused if the train is busy.

Going to other places in the UK

The UK is a small country, and you can get almost anywhere using trains or coach travel within the same day. Coaches are usually the cheapest but take longer than trains. You can fly within the UK, but it is usually more expensive and can be slower.

The Omio website can show you your options for getting across the country.

Coaches
1
Finding and buying a ticket

You can buy tickets in advance online, or from your local coach station. There are several companies providing coach travel. Omio can help you find the cheapest tickets from across all coach providers.

2
Getting off

Coaches will stop at all planned stops on the route. You do not need to ask the driver to stop. The driver will announce the name of the stop before you arrive.

How can I get cheaper tickets?

If you regularly travel by coach, one of the companies, National Express offer an annual coach card which will give you a discount on all tickets on their routes. This is available to young people, older people and those with disabilities. You can check if you’re eligible and buy on their website.

Do I have to pay extra to take luggage?

No

Can I take my own food to eat or drink on the coach?

Yes

Trains
1
Finding a journey

You can search for trains using one of many websites which will allow you to look up train times and buy tickets.

2
Buying a ticket

You should buy a ticket in the station before you get on the train, or in advance on the internet. Almost all stations have a ticket machine, and larger stations will have a ticket office. If neither is available, you can buy a ticket on the train from the ticket collector. You have the option to buy either a single journey ticket, or a return if you are coming back. A return ticket is usually cheaper than two single tickets.

What are off-peak and any time tickets?

When buying a ticket, you will see options for ‘off-peak’ and ‘any time’. Peak hours are before 9.30 – if you want wanting to travel before at this time, you will need an ‘any time’ ticket, . otherwise Otherwise, ‘off-peak’ tickets will be best. If buying a day return, this is only valid on the same calendar day – it is not a 24 hour24-hour period.

3
Finding your train

All stations have digital screens that will show you the next train to arrive at each platform. The screens will show the final destination of the train, the time it leaves, and the stops it will make, and the platform number.

Bus stop

The platform will be a number, sometimes with a letter after, such as 12B. If there is a letter it is telling you how far down platform 12 you will need to stand to find your train. There will be signs across the station to guide you to the right platform.

Bus stop

Some stations will have automatic ticket gates before the platform, where you will have to scan your paper ticket, or show a QR code if you have an electronic ticket on your mobile phone.

4
Finding your seat

Local trains do not have seat reservations, so you can sit wherever there is space. Long-distance train routes sometimes have seat reservations – this will either be shown on a screen above the seat, or there will be a ticket card placed on the top of the chair.

Bus stop

If your ticket has a reservation, find the right carriage and seat. The carriage will be a letter, such as 'C' and your seat number will be a number. The carriage letter will be displayed on the outside of the train.

If you don’t have a reservation, find an empty chair without a reservation. If the carriage has 'first class' on the outside you cannot sit in this carriage without a more expensive ticket.

If you have large luggage, there is often a luggage rack at the end of each carriage. If you have a small bag, you can put it on the overhead rack, or on the seat next to you.

Bus stop
5
Getting off

The name of each stop will be announced by the train driver shortly before it arrives. There is usually an electronic screen showing the upcoming stops.

Once your stop has been announced, gather your bags and walk to the nearest door. The doors may open automatically, but there is also an electronic button which you will need to press to get out on some trains.

How can I get cheaper tickets?

It's usually cheapest to buy travel tickets in advance, up to 3 months before you travel. You can do this online from any train company website such as The Train Line. For the cheapest possible deal, the website splitmyfare.co.uk can find you the cheapest possible route to your destination.

If you regularly travel by train, you might consider buying a rail card, which will give you a discount on most train tickets. Not everyone is eligible to buy a rail card – you can check if you’re eligible on the National Rail website.

Disabled Persons Railcard

People with certain disabilities or medical conditions can get a discount card which makes travel by train cheaper. This card is valid for trail travel within England, Scotland and Wales.

Where to get help
National Rail
Disabled Persons Railcard
Taking bags and large items on a train
How much luggage can I take?

You must be able to carry all your luggage yourself. The train staff can refuse to let you take very large items such as furniture and sports equipment on the train.

Do I have to pay extra to take luggage?

No

Can I take a bicycle on the train?

You can take bicycles on the train, but you may be refused if the train is busy.

Can I take my own food to eat or drink on the train?

Yes

What should I do if my train is cancelled?

If you have already bought a ticket, the train company must help you get to your destination. Talk to the train staff if possible - they may have arranged a replacement bus, or you can use your tickets on the next train that will get you to your destination.

What should I do if I have booked a ticket but there is a strike on the day of travel?

You can use your ticket on the next train from the same rail company. Alternatively, you are entitled to a refund from where you bought the ticket.

Driving cars and motorcycles
Owning a vehicle
Buying a vehicle

To buy a vehicle you'll need an address where it will be registered. There are no immigration requirements for buying a vehicle in the UK.

You can buy a second-hand vehicle through a local dealership, which may mean you get a warranty. Another option is buying second-hand from a private owner, which is usually cheaper, but can be more risky, especially if the warranty on the vehicle has run out.

Getting an MOT

Vehicles need to pass a test called an 'MOT' every year. If the vehicle has problems, they may tell you that you need to get these fixed before it can pass. The MOT is necessary before you can get tax for a vehicle.

Vehicle tax

All vehicles need to be taxed and insured. If you don’t have both tax and insurance, you will receive an automatic fine.

Do I still need to pay tax if I won't use the vehicle?

If you do not plan to use your vehicle and want to store it off road, you will need to inform the DVLA.

Getting vehicle insurance

All vehicles need to be taxed and insured. If you don’t have both tax and insurance, you will receive an automatic fine.

The minimum level of insurance is called ‘third party’, which will cover expenses if you have an accident causing damage to other people or other people’s vehicles, 

Buying fuel for your vehicle

At a petrol station, you can pay for fuel at the pump if there is a card reader. Before you fill up, insert your debit or credit card, and enter your pin. You can then fill your car and leave.

If there is no card reader, you will need to fill your car first. Leave your car parked where it is, look to see what number your pump is, and then go into the petrol station. Tell the cashier the pump number, and then pay.

How much will fuel cost for a journey?

You can use this fuel cost calculator to estimate how much a particular journey will cost.

Car accidents

If you’re involved in a vehicle accident that has caused damage or injuries, here is what you need to do.

1
Stop your car

The law says that you must stop as soon as it’s safe to do so, even if it seems like a small accident.

Turn off the engine, and then turn on your the car’s hazard lights to show other road users that they need to be careful

2
Check for injuries

Check whether you or anyone involved in the accident are injured. If there’s a medical emergency, call 999.

Calling 999

Dial 999 on a phone to speak to the emergency ambulance, police or fire services.

What should I do if my phone has no credit?

999 calls are free and you do not need credit on your phone.

Can I call 999 if I don’t speak English?

Yes. If you can't speak English, try saying the word ‘help’ in your own language, or say the name of your language. Stay on the line and don't hang up. The operator will try to identify your language and connect you to an interpreter service.

If there is someone nearby who can speak English it may be best to try and show them what has happened and get them to call.

What should I do if my partner is violent, and I can’t talk out loud?

Call 999. After you have connected, press ‘55’ on your phone. You will be transferred to the police. They will ask you simple yes or no questions, which you can respond to by tapping number buttons on your phone.

How do I use 999 if I'm hard of hearing or speech impaired?

If you're using the Relay UK app, type the 999 button. If you're using a textphone, call 18000. You'll then be connected to a Relay Assistant. Tell them which emergency service you need.

Can I send SMS messages to 999?

The emergencySMS service is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech impairments, letting them send SMS messages to 999. You need to register with this service before you can use it.

3
If needed, call the police

If the accident is blocking the road, dial 999 and ask for the police.

Calling 999

Dial 999 on a phone to speak to the emergency ambulance, police or fire services.

What should I do if my phone has no credit?

999 calls are free and you do not need credit on your phone.

Can I call 999 if I don’t speak English?

Yes. If you can't speak English, try saying the word ‘help’ in your own language, or say the name of your language. Stay on the line and don't hang up. The operator will try to identify your language and connect you to an interpreter service.

If there is someone nearby who can speak English it may be best to try and show them what has happened and get them to call.

What should I do if my partner is violent, and I can’t talk out loud?

Call 999. After you have connected, press ‘55’ on your phone. You will be transferred to the police. They will ask you simple yes or no questions, which you can respond to by tapping number buttons on your phone.

How do I use 999 if I'm hard of hearing or speech impaired?

If you're using the Relay UK app, type the 999 button. If you're using a textphone, call 18000. You'll then be connected to a Relay Assistant. Tell them which emergency service you need.

Can I send SMS messages to 999?

The emergencySMS service is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech impairments, letting them send SMS messages to 999. You need to register with this service before you can use it.

4
Exchange contact details

Give your name and address to the other people who were involved. The law requires this, but you don’t have to give your phone number. 

Ask for their name and address. If they won’t tell you, dial 101 on your phone to speak to the police.

If you have hit a parked car and the owner isn’t there, write your details on a piece of paper and slide this under the windscreen wipers so they can find it.

At this stage, it’s usually best not to admit that the accident was your fault. The police or insurance companies will decide that later.

5
Collect other information

If possible make a note of the following:

  • the vehicle registration number of all vehicles involved
  • insurance details of the other drivers involved
  • who is the registered owner of all vehicles involved, and their name and address.
  • details about the accident including the time and date, weather conditions, and a list of damage caused and any injuries
  • photos of the scene of the accident

If there are other witnesses, you could ask for their contact details now.

6
Report the accident

You should report the accident to the police within 24 hours if you couldn’t exchange contact details with the other driver, or if anyone was injured. You can do this online, or at a police station.

If you want to make an insurance claim, contact the insurer as soon as you can. If there is very little damage, such as a small mark or scratch, you might not want to make an insurance claim.

What do I need to drive in the UK?

You must have a valid drivers licence, a valid MOT certificate for your vehicle, vehicle insurance and vehicle tax.

Can I drive using a Ukrainian licence in the UK?
Can I use my foreign drivers licence in the UK?

You can check whether your licence is valid using this tool:

Can I drive my Ukrainian car in the UK?
What are the rules of the road?

All vehicles drive on the left hand side of the road, and all speed limits are in miles per hour. Everyone in a car must wear a seatbelt, and the law requires that young children must be in a child seat by law.

You can read the full rules of the road here:

Getting around for people with disabilities
Public transport

There are schemes that offer discounted or free travel for people with disabilities.

Most public transport is accessible to wheelchair users, but it’s best to contact the travel company before travel to check if your planned journey will be possible and to reserve a space.

Transport for West Midlands offer advice for people travelling with accessibility needs, including free accessibility products. 

Free or discounted travel

If you have a disability you might be able to get a travel card. This will give you free or discounted travel on public transport.

Where to get help
Transport For West Midlands
Disabled Person's Pass
National Rail
Disabled Persons Railcard
Taxis

If you’re travelling by taxi, tell them when you book if you will need a wheelchair-accessible taxi.

Trains

There is support available at train stations for people with mobility needs, or who need help with luggage or getting around the station. This is called the 'Passenger Assist' service. The facilities at each station varies, so it's best to book this in advance.

Where to get help
National Rail
Passenger Assist
Coaches

Many coaches are accessible to wheelchair users, but it’s best to contact the coach company in advance to check if this is available, and to reserve a space.

Coach companies probably won’t accept mobility scooters unless they can be folded up.

Transport services

Many areas have community transport schemes which help people who have difficulty using public transport. These schemes might include a minibus or volunteer drivers.

Parking your car
Blue Badge Scheme

This is a national scheme that lets people with mobility problems park close to where they need to go.

Where to get help
Department For Transport
Blue Badge Scheme
Disabled parking pays

A disabled parking bay is a reserved area on the road for people who have a Blue Badge. If you would like to have a disabled parking bay near your home, you can apply through your council.

Getting a wheelchair or scooter

You can borrow a wheelchair or other mobility aids through the British Red Cross. Shopmobility rent these out for people to do shopping or visit leisure facilities in a town or shopping centre.