The Spanish government is to fully subsidise many RENFE train tickets between 1 September and 31 December, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced in parliament this week.
Public transport prices on state-owned RENFE services across Spain had already been slashed in half in response to rapidly rising energy and inflation rates. But the government has now announced 100% discounts for four months on short and medium-distance trains. The measure excludes single-journey tickets or long-distance travel.
The 100% discount will apply to multi-journey tickets for commuter trains operated by the RENFE network’s public services, such as Cercanías, Rodalies, Avant and Media Distancia (equivalent to local and medium-distance journeys), covering journeys of less than 300 km. Multi-journey tickets include a minimum of 10 return trips.
Until now, the discount for trains had been 50%, but it has been increased to encourage people to use public transport instead of their own vehicles in the face of high fuel prices.
The new scheme on RENFE routes is in addition to a policy announced last week, in which the central Spanish government said it would fund between 30-50% discount on all public transport, including metros, buses and trams.
The measure is part of the government’s ambitious plan to combat the consequences of the economic crisis that has afflicted the income of millions of families and businesses, besieged by inflation, the energy bill, the rise of the Euribor and the escalation in fuel prices and raw materials. ALSO READ: Spain to hit banks and energy firms with temporary windfall tax.
‘This measure encourages to the maximum the use of this type of collective public transport to guarantee the needed daily commute with a safe, reliable, comfortable, economic and sustainable means of transportation, amid the extraordinary circumstances of the steady increase of energy and fuel prices,’ the Spanish Ministry of Transport said in a statement.
‘I am fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people face. I know that your salary is getting less and less, that it is difficult to make ends meet, and that your shopping basket is becoming more and more expensive,’ Sánchez said.
‘I am going to work my skin to the bone to defend the working class of this country,’ he added.
In order to finance the new measure, the Spanish government has confirmed that €221 million will be allocated to regional governments and transport authorities across the country.