IRU passenger transport members kick off Ukraine action for refugees

09 March 2022

IRU passenger transport members in the European Union, meeting in Brussels, have launched an initiative for coordinated action to match private bus and coach operators with Ukrainian refugee transport needs, together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

With refugees from Ukraine now numbering over two million and continuing to rise, bus and coach companies across the European Union and beyond are spontaneously offering help.

While some support is already on the move, it has become increasingly complicated to match refugee numbers and their travel needs to shelters across the EU. The global coordinator of refugee movements, including in affected regions, UNHCR, and IRU are joining forces to roll out efficient solutions to transport refugees.

Patrick Westelinck, President of IRU’s Passenger Transport Council, said, “IRU passenger transport members have shown an outpouring of support to help refugees since the crisis began. This new action to support UNHCR will coordinate transport operators to get appropriate help precisely to those who need it most.”

The action will see IRU’s passenger transport members support UNHCR’s operational hubs to provide bus and coach transport over the coming weeks. This will include transport from the Ukrainian border, as well as from hubs such as Warsaw to onward European destinations.

Raluca Marian, IRU’s Director for EU Advocacy, said, “IRU has been in constant contact with the European Commission and with its EU members on the Ukraine crisis. IRU is also exploring facilitation measures at an EU level for humanitarian passenger transport. We look forward to continuing to coordinate vital support from our industry alongside this new action with UNHCR.”

Since the crisis began almost two weeks ago, IRU has actively worked with governments, authorities and EU institutions to support humanitarian transport and help stranded drivers.