Rail passengers are being offered complimentary journeys on various routes run by state-owned operator Renfe as part of the Spanish government’s aims to reduce the rocketing cost of living.
Until the end of December, multi-ticket journeys on the Cercanías and Rodalies commuter trains and regional journeys of less than 300km (186 miles) on Media Distancia trains will be free of charge.
The measure is aimed at season ticket holders, rather than tourists, as long-distance journeys on high-speed trains and single tickets are not included in the offer.
But travellers on long-distance journeys can claim a 50 per cent discount on their tickets.
All tickets for public transport – metro, buses, and trams – will be cut by at least 30 per cent during this time. In the Catalonia region, public transport will be 50 per cent cheaper.
Earlier this week, Renfe said that it had already issued a total of 316,749 free Cercanías and Media Distancia season tickets for travel between 1 September and 31 December.
The company is advising travellers to apply for free travel by 5 September. It says that it expects an increase in passengers from that date as it marks the “end of the summer holidays for most citizens”.
The Spanish socialist-led coalition government has said that the big travel discounts are aimed at helping citizens during the cost of living crisis, which has been exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Prime minister Pedro Sánchez had said: “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.
“I am going to work my skin to the bone to defend the working class of this country.”
The scheme is expected to cost €221m (£191m), reportedly to be paid for by a windfall tax on banks and energy companies that is expected to rake in €7bn (£6bn) to help citizens with the cost of living.
Renfe passes for free travel can be arranged by showing a QR code to station staff that is issued when registering online for a Mas Renfe card.
A refundable deposit of €10 is required for Cercanías, and €20 for Media Distancia. Deposits are returned if a pass holder has made at least 16 journeys during the four months.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies