While some governments dither and delay in taking action to help out with the cost-of-living crisis, Spain is storming ahead. Having already halved the cost of public transport nationwide, slashed VAT and cut tax on fuel, the Spanish government has now made a huge number of short- and medium-distance train journeys totally free – for regular passengers, anyway.
The scheme was announced in July 2022 by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, who said that all Cercanías (commuter train), Rodalies (commuter routes in Catalonia) and Media Distancia routes (mid-distance regional lines, covering journeys of less than 300km) run by the national rail operator Renfe will be free of charge from September 1 to December 31 2022. Having proved incredibly popular, the scheme was later extended, and is now due to finish in December 2023.
It is worth noting that the 100 percent discount will be on multi-trip tickets between two regular destinations, and single fares are not included. The scheme is therefore aimed at regular commuters rather than visitors who want to visit multiple destinations.
Cutting public transport fares has also been mooted as a way of getting people to switch away from polluting private transport and even air travel, tackling the climate emergency as well as the cost-of-living crisis.
And if you aren’t a Spanish commuter, don’t fear. Various Spanish regional governments are also funding discounts of up to 60 percent on a variety of public transport, including metros, buses and trams – meaning that visitors can also take advantage of cheap travel.
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