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Train travels increasing

The Spanish high speed trains are taking market shares from all other methods of domestic travel. On some stretches flight travels in practice are ousted.


Photo: Renfe

We are talking about AVE trains that currently offer attractive prices and also quick and reliable transportation direclty from one city center to another. The upturn started in 2013 when the government decided to drastically cut prices and introduce a series of discount opportunities involving price reductions of between 30% and 70%.

The improved economic situation in Spain meant that the total number of international passengers increased substantially last year. AVE trains and other long-distance train travels increased by 15.9% in 2014, while domestic aviation only increased by 2%. According to a survey conducted by Fede, AVE trains on the route Barcelona – Madrid now have a market share of over 60% compared to the airlines. For Madrid – Seville and Madrid – Valencia the market shares are above 90%.

Prices vary greatly between departures and it is always an advantage to book well in advance (via the Internet). There are Promo “economy” and also group and volume discounts that keeps prices down if you are only slightly aware.

Price example
The Ave train between Barcelona – Madrid right now costs 65 euros for economy in June return. Airlines charge about 70 Euro for the same stretch, and then in addittion comes the transfers to and from airports. The bus companies are slightly cheaper, they charge around 60 Euro – but then we are talking about completely different travelling times, and a completely different comfort.

For the economic
It is possible to train food prices a bit with an AVE bonus card valid for 10 trips back and forth for four months. It gives discounts of up to 35% on the basic price. There is also a “tarifa mesa” a special reduced tariff for up to four people as “sharing a table,” If you don’t have any travel companions, there are special web sites to find one, in order to utilize this rebate.

A small disclaimer
According to a recent survey conducted by Feda none of the AVE lines are profitable. In other words they might be “too cheap”. The amount of travelers need to increase even more for there to be anything left in the cash registers for Renfe. But we as consumers should not complain about the low prices …


An AVE train (Talgo 350) on the line Madrid – Valencia. Photo: Peter Christ Listener (Wikipedia).