Spain announces free train travel from September to end of year | Train prices

Where most governments have been sluggish in their efforts to tackle inflation, Spain has burned to the brim with a scheme that makes some train travel completely free.

The initiative means that passengers will be able to skip Catalonia, immerse themselves in Andalusia’s architectural splendor or explore museums and restaurants in the Basque Country.

The announcement came on Tuesday when Spain’s socialist-led coalition government declared that travel over certain parts of the state – owned railway network, Renfe, would be free from 1 September until the end of the year.

This new scheme on the Renfe routes is a complement to a policy announced last month in which the central government agreed on a 30% discount on all public transport, including metros, buses and trams.

The 100% railway discounts apply to multi-journey tickets surroundings (commuter services) and medium distance, or medium-distance routes (less than 300 km). The measure is mainly aimed at Spanish season ticket holders, but tourists could benefit from it if they bought tickets for multiple trips.

“I want the people of Spain to know that I am fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people face,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Tuesday. “I know that wages cover less and less and that it’s hard to get to the end of the month.”

The price reductions are being implemented to mitigate the effects of inflation and rapidly rising energy prices.

“This measure encourages the use of public transport to guarantee a safe, reliable, comfortable, economical and sustainable way of commuting daily in the midst of the extraordinary rise in energy and fuel prices,” the Spanish Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

Spain is not the only European country seeking to reduce public transport costs.

In May, Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway company, launched a € 9 ticket, providing a full month’s journey from June to the end of August. All two stations in Germany can be connected with the agreement, so passengers traveling more than 50 miles can save money with a single trip.

And Austria launched its “Climate Ticket” (climate ticket) at the end of 2021. While the morning shuttle can stick to budgets, the ticket offers travel for only € 3. Designed to encourage Austrians to drop their cars, the scheme proved extremely popular and its website almost crashed when the tickets went on sale.

The British, meanwhile, continue to be burdened by conspicuous ticket prices. In February, it was announced that train prices would rise across England and Wales by an average of 3.8%. Railfuture, an independent organization seeking to reform the railways, has suggested that commuters’ annual travel costs will appear prohibitive while prices rise.

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