The Minister for Development, Ana Pastor, has announced an investment of 1.257 billion Euro to improve commuter traffic in Spain.
It is historically the largest single investment that has been made since the start of the local trains (Cercanías) twenty years ago. The plan will be implemented over three years and involves 18 cities, where the intention is to obtain 22 million new passengers.
The money will go to both ADIF (who are in charge of the rails) and RENFE (who are operates the trains). ADIF get the lion’s share of money, 1.000 million euros, while RENFE gets the remaining 257 million.
Improvements will be made on the tracks, signaling and electrical systems while level crossings will be eliminated. It will be built new stations and the existing will be improved, especially with regard to accessibility. Thee will be WiFi at all stations, which already will be operative in June at Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona and Getafe stations at Madrid suburb lines.
The trains will also be modernized and there will be real-time information on all local trains. Apps will be developed for travel planning and ticketing, and new payment methods will be developed that will make the various tariffs more attractive.
Ana Pastor has also presented a bill that is intended to increase competition between the different train operators. Apart from the state company RENFE, there are currently 27 companies licensed to operate rail services in Spain. There are five with only passenger license and 13 have license for freight traffic and nine that have both categories.
The new bill also contains an article on the construction of a new security agency, which will have its own sources of income independent of infrastructure representatives or train operators. They will thus not be subjected to economic pressure, but can concentrate on controlling and increase security.
Editor’s Note :. The shuttle line in Malaga, C1 between Malaga and Fuengirola and C2 between Málaga and Alora are included in the plans (Line C1 is Spain’s most profitable railway line).