Spain’s free train tickets on sale as of today
Spain’s free train ticket campaign kicked off earlier on Wednesday, with registered Renfe users being able to obtain free passes for the Cercanías, Rodalies de Catalunya and Media Distancia routes online. The company has welcomed more than 300,000 new users since the registration opened on August 10.
The free train tickets were announced in July as part of a government effort to reduce the cost of living in light of high inflation and elevated energy costs. Registered users can obtain the passes, which will be a QR card for one’s mobile phone, starting on today, August 24. Renfe published a video (in Spanish) earlier this month explaining the process in more detail. You can watch it here. People who are not registered can acquire the free season passes at ticket offices or self-service machines.
The Cercanías and Rodalies season passes for the period of September through December require a deposit of 10 euros, the medium-distance pass a deposit of 20 euros. The deposits will be refunded when travellers fulfil the requirement of making at least 16 trips in the mentioned four-month-period.
Travellers using Renfe’s Avant and high-speed AVE services stand to benefit, too: if their travel time is less than 100 minutes, they receive a 50-percent discount.
While the initiative has generated a lot of buzz, some association fear overcrowding and increased passenger numbers at the expense of other forms of public transport. Jordi Porta of Public Transport Association for Catalonia PTP told RailTech.com earlier this month that argues that the money spent on the free train passes should have been channelled towards improving public transport as a whole.