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Transport ministry explains how to get free frequent-traveller rail tickets
Sunday, August 7, 2022 @ 11:44 AM

FREE rail passes for outer suburban and medium-distance lines can now be obtained online, and will become valid for use from September 1, confirms transport minister Raquel Sánchez.

Lasting four months, the move – financed by €200 million in public funds – is expected to save residents nationwide the cost of 75 million train journeys before New Year's Eve.

Cercanías train on Madrid's Line C2 at El Pozo station (photo: YouTube)

The Cercanías lines – often referred to as the Rodalies in the Comunidad Valenciana and Catalunya – typically cover up to six zones radiating out from a provincial capital city, spanning about 70 kilometres or roughly an hour's journey.

Prices per journey normally range from approximately €2 to €6 one way, depending upon zone.

Medium-distance rail links, or Media Distancia, are inter-provincial, but generally fall short of the long-distance or Larga Distancia connections which operate across several regions at once.

Both the latter are much slower than the high-speed AVE train – which is not covered by the free season ticket deal – although they are much cheaper, being around half the price.

Frequent-passenger tickets – passes for a set number of journeys, or unlimited trips over a specific time period – are the ones which will be at zero cost for the coming months.

From Monday, August 8, would-be travellers or regular commuters can apply online for their free passes via in a pre-registration process, and the passes will become available from August 24, coming into effect eight days later.

For the Cercanías and Rodalies networks, those applying need to pay a deposit of €10, which will be refunded after December 31 if they make a minimum of four journeys a month on these rail links within the specific nucleus they register for.

This means that the four monthly journeys have to be on the network for the same city to qualify – they could not, for example, take two trips a month on the Cercanías in Valencia and two on the Cercanías in Bilbao and still recover their deposit.

On the other hand, if they pay two deposits of €10, they could then recover both if they made four trips a month on the Valencia network and four on the Bilbao network.



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