The Minister of Development, Ana Pastor, announced on Tuesday that, in a bid to attract more passengers, railway operators Renfe are to lower the price of their general tickets for journeys on high speed trains (AVE) by 11% from 8th February. In addition, they are to introduce a 10-journey ticket with a 35% discount, and will also launch a flexible pricing system, similar to that used for the sale of airline tickets, which will offer discounts of up to 70%, especially if purchased well in advance.
In the press conference Pastor said that the new prices are intended to increase the use of the AVE by 10%, improve revenues and adapt the pricing policy to the current situation (where trains are running in some cases with below 50% occupancy).
El Pais reported that although the new rates will come into force on 8th February, those aimed at younger travellers will take effect in March, while the discounts for multiple trips will commence on 1st June this year.
The main changes are as follows:-
1. General Ticket (Billete general): The general ticket price will be reduced by 11% in economy class (clase turista) from 8th February.
2. ‘Promo’ Prices (Precios ‘promo’): flexible price management based on demand, inspired by the ticketing system for airlines, and will be extended to all trains. These tickets will be linked to a price with a discount of between 30% and 70%, and will allow you to travel in any class, date and time. The further in advance you buy, the more likely you are to get a bigger discount, and promotional offers may become available at any time. Pastor explained: “It will be possible to travel from Madrid to Barcelona from 32 euros, from Seville to Valencia from 27.8 euros or from Valencia to Madrid from 21.7 euros”.
3. AVE Pass (Bono AVE): This is a ticket for ten trips, issued in the traveller’s name, which is valid for one route for four months, to benefit regular travellers.
4. Youth Card (Tarjeta joven): Renfe are to introduce a virtual card which will allow travellers under 26 years of age to travel on any ticket with a 30% discount. This card will carry an annual fee of 20 euros, plus VAT.
Renfe are to maintain the Gold Card (Tarjeta Dorada) discounts system for seniors, and the 40% discount for children of up to 13 years of age.