INCREASING numbers of travellers are being forced to take to the roads after the government slashed rail services in a bid to save costs.
The plan, which affects 49 lines around the country, will lead to savings of €86.5 million a year.
However the axe will affect 1.6 million passengers each year, as a third of all medium-distance services are scrapped.
In total Renfe is to shut 32% of Spain’s medium distance trains, with Andalucia losing seven services to the cuts.
These include services between Cordoba and Bobadilla, Algeciras and Ronda and Sevilla and Huelva to Merida.
The news comes as a big blow to many of the small villages and towns between Algeciras and Ronda.
The train is a transport lifeline for many people living in towns like Benaojan, Gaucin and Jimena.
Under the new cuts, an important train from Ronda at 07.30 and the evening service from Algeciras are being scythed.
The 8,000 passengers that used these service annually will now be forced to drive down the long winding road that links the two towns.
Local business on the line, including hotels and restaurants, have told the Olive Press that they fear the possibility of more cuts or even the complete closure of the line in the future.
“That is what we fear the most,” explained Andy Chapell, owner of Hotel Molino del Santo, in Benaojan Estacion, who gets regular clientelle arriving for lunch on the train.
The biggest loss making lines were identified as Vigo to Ourense, Madrid to Cuenca, A Coruña to Ferrol and Zaragoza to Teruel, which each lost more than €2 million annually.
Officials for the Ministry of Development commented that the services that had been cut would be largely replaced by buses.