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Monday 5 September 2022

Train journeys free - until the end of the year

Locals and visitors to Spain can now benefit from free train travel on many short- and medium-length journeys until the end of the year.

Rail passengers are being offered complimentary journeys on various routes run by state-owned operator Renfe as part of the Spanish Government’s plans to reduce the cost of living.

The move follows a similar plan in Germany, where rail fares returned to normal on Thursday after a three-month experiment with €9 tickets for a month’s unlimited travel on local and regional public transport networks.

But because this is Spain, the plan is convoluted.

Passengers must obtain a rail pass via Renfe’s app or at a railway station. They must then nominate a destination and pay a deposit of €10 for suburban lines and €20 for middle-distance journeys, after which a QR code on the app will serve as their ticket.

The deposit will be refunded at the end of the year if the ticket holder has travelled at least 16 times to the specified destination.

The ticket applies to all destinations in the same zone as the specified station. In the case of Madrid or Barcelona, for example, it means free travel within a radius of about 50km of the city.

Visitors to Spain can sign up using their passport number, and for those using a city as a base to explore the surrounding area there are significant benefits. For example, a return ticket from Madrid to nearby Aranjuez costs €12.50, and to El Escorial, €8.10. Even if they forfeiting the €10 deposit, they have already saved money.

Also, metro fares in Barcelona have been cut by up to 50% until December 31.

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