Back in July Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez approved a bill that would allow passengers of public transportation free-of-charge rides on select routes. The transportation discount had gone into effect on September 1st and will go until December 31st of this year.

How it works:

This concept will be applied to routes on “cercanias” (commuter services/short routes) as well as “media distancia” (routes just under 300km). All the routes will be taken on their national rail operator service called Renfe.

The push to increase public transportation:

Although international tourists will see great benefit in this offer, the initial purpose of this concept wasn’t just for tourists. The deal was to encourage people to not drive and use public transportation. It was also implemented to reduce the cost of living for the people of Spain as well as reduce their carbon footprint.

Commuters and tourists can access one of these rail passes via the Renfe app or at any ticketing station. Once a passenger selects a destination, a QR code is generated and that code becomes your ticket.


Photo Credit: Dani Guitarra

Then a deposit of 10 euros is needed for “cercanias” and a deposit of 20 euros would be required for “media distancia”. These fees would be refunded after 16 trips within the four month period the special is available.

Raquel Sanchez, Spain’s minister of transport tweeted that 100 thousand people subscribed to the Renfe free access rides. Which was a 50 percent increase to the numbers on the same day back in 2019.

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She also tweeted:

“The new passes are useful to help the middle and working classes and to recover public transport as a more sustainable alternative for daily mobility.”

The government made a statement on how a family would be saving under the new transportation plan:

“A traveller who uses the monthly pass for the conventional Badajoz-Merida medium-distance route, which costs €153.20 per month, will save €612.80 during the four months the measure is in force. If the traveller currently uses the ten voucher (€31.80 per subscription), the savings of four months in the Badajoz-Mérida is €127.40 and he will be able to make unlimited journeys.”

This new plan which also incorporates other discounts on public transportation will cost the government of Spain close to 200 million euros.