Spain announces 50 per cent discount on Interrail for youth
Spanish president Pedro Sánchez has announced a 50 per cent discount on the Interrail pass for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 can travel throughout Europe this summer. In addition, a ‘Spanish national Interrail pass’ will be created with a 90 per cent discount. It is valid this summer, between June 15 and 15 September.
Sánchez disclosed the Interrail discount in a speech at a rally of his party, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), in Murcia ahead of regional elections on May 28. The “new commitment” of his government for young people will be approved in the Council of Ministers this Tuesday, he said.
As Sánzchez puts it, “there are young people who know more about Europe than their own country”, and the creation of a national Interrail in addition to the discount for the existing European Interrail should encourage young Spaniards to get to know their country while promoting tourism and knowledge of the cultural and historical heritage. The Spanish Interrail which will be created will offer a 90 per cent discount on the rail and bus services that are the responsibility of the General State Administration, and will include a 50 per cent discount for high-speed rail.
Supporting rail travel
The Interrail discount comes in addition to earlier measures of the Spanish government to offer cheaper rail travel to its citizens. Spain introduced the free train subscription scheme in September 2022 in response to the increase in energy prices due to the war in Ukraine and the elevated costs of living. Additionally, the government sought to promote the use of public transport, reduce the use of private cars as well as contribute to reducing the countries’ energy dependence and carbon footprint. The measure was extended throughout 2023 in January.
The subscriptions are in the form of a four-month pass with which people can travel between two destinations. At the time of purchasing the pass, the passenger must choose two station between which they will travel with the pass, by Cercanías nucleus or origin/destination in the case of Media Distancia. At least 16 trips during the validity of each subscription to encourage taking the train more often, and the subscriptions are aimed at frequent travellers. The high-performance services between Murcia and Alicante, and the Avant trains between Ourense and A Coruña and Madrid and Salamanca will be free for recurring users during the coming year. Multi-trip tickets for high-speed Avant trains will be available with a half reduced price, for lines that are under a public service obligation and thus funded by the government.
For 2023, the Spanish transport ministry will allocate 600 million euros to compensate national railway operator Renfe for the discounts applied and the costs of implementing the measure. Between September 1 and December 31 of last year, 2,437,394 free passes for trips were issued. A majority 71.6 percent of the passes was for the commuter rail systems of Spain’s major metropolitan areas called Cercanías, or Rodalies in the Catalunya region.