31 Aug, 2022 @ 19:00
1 min read

EXPLAINER: What you need to know about Spain’s free rail travel scheme from September 1

Anden De Cercanias Photo by Carel Sanchez/Wikipedia/ CC
Image Wikipedia Carel Sanchez/creative commons

SPAIN’S rail operator is introducing a scheme from September 1 that offers free train travel on certain local and mid-distance journeys.

The scheme was announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as a measure to limit the impact of rising inflation and the cost of living crisis and will run from September 1 until December 31.

The process for obtaining the free tickets is fully explained on the Renfe website (in Spanish) but here’s a simplified overview of the scheme and how to benefit from it.

 Who is eligible?

The tickets are available to anyone, both resident and non-resident, although the need to register and pay a deposit for a travel card makes it less of a convenient and money saving option for tourists.

In fact,the deal is not valid for a single or round-trip ticket so is best targeted at commuters as it offers repeated journeys with users  travelling to and from the same station in order to get the discounts.

Which trains?

The ticket scheme is available on routes offered by Cercanías, Rodalies, and Media Distancia (local and medium-distance journeys) and not on the high speed AVE or long distance Alvia services.

The train ticket allows passengers to get off and on at different stations for “Cercanias”.

However, for “Media Distancia” it is mandatory to get on and off on the specific station chosen when the ticket was purchased.

The “Avant” services offer a 50% of discount for the trains scheduled between September 1 and December 31.

For commuter discounts, users will have to use their ticket at least 16 times between September and December and then they will be refunded the discount at the end of the year.

Tickets are non-transferable.

How to book free tickets

You will need to either visit Renfe’s website or download the Renfe APP and register as a user or go in person to the train station.

Tickets will be issued with a QR code that can be scanned in and out of stations.

Renfe advise passengers to arrive earlier at the station and to avoid peak times.


Jorge Hinojosa

Jorge Hinojosa Mena was born and bred in Madrid before moving to the UK to study. After an undergraduate degree in Manchester, he completed an MA in International Journalism at City. He has worked in radio and for Spain’s Efe news agency before joining the Olive Press in March 2022. Contact: [email protected]

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