Demand for AVE services has risen since RENFE implemented a new sales policy four months ago aimed at lowering ticket prices. Between 8th February and 2nd June this year, 14% more passengers have travelled on AVE rail services than in the same period of 2012. Furthermore, ticket sales in this period also rose by 18% over the number of tickets sold in the same period of last year.
On 8th February, RENFE introduced new tariffs which reduced standard rate AVE tickets by 11%, and a dynamic new pricing system on these services and on all Long-Distance train services, with discounts of up to 70%. The result has been a reversal in the trend in demand for AVE services; from a decline in demand to an increase of 14%.
The AVE services showing the highest increase in demand in absolute terms are those routes between Madrid and Barcelona and between Madrid and Seville, while those showing the highest percentage increase are those that cover the longest distances: Barcelona-Malaga and Barcelona-Seville.
Average occupancy on the AVE services has increased over 2012 and now stands at 75%.
The overall growth for all AVE and Long-Distance rail services in these four months stands at 10.69%, with 771,472 more passengers. The RENFE Long-Distance services includes trains that partly travel on the high-speed tracks (under the Alvia and Altaria brands) and trains that travel on conventional tracks.
Only one in ten AVE passengers pays the standard tariff, i.e. the full ticket price with no kind of discount, and 30% of passengers purchase Promo tickets, with discounts of up to 70%. The new dynamic pricing system has led to a noticeable increase in the number of passengers travelling at less than half-price on both Promo and Mesa tickets.
The new tariffs enables travel on the main AVE routes for less than 30 euros; between Valencia and Madrid for 21.70 euros; from Madrid to Seville or Malaga for 23 euros and for a little more on longer routes; from Madrid to Barcelona from 32 euros; and from Barcelona to Malaga or Seville for 35 euros. Following RENFE’s positive results for the February to June period with regard to ticket sales, the upward trend in the number of AVE passengers is expected to continue over the summer.
Over the coming months, RENFE will implement an operation to step up commercial activity that will represent a total of 17 million seats on AVE, Long-Distance, Medium-Distance and Suburban rail services. Specifically for peak travel days, this year RENFE will operate more than 300 AVE services in a day, with a total of 95,000 seats – 10% more than last year.
RENFE is launching new routes and connections this summer that will increase the number of possible origins and destinations available from the company (AVE to Alicante, Cantabrian Coast to Valencia and Andalusia, etc.), new services and extra services on weekends to beach destinations for the most popular Long-Distance and Medium-Distance services (from Madrid to Huelva and Cadiz, from Alicante and Valencia to Malaga and Seville, and from Castile-Leon to Asturias and Cantabria). Finally, they are to launch new combinations of AVE and Long-Distance services with Suburban, Medium-Distance and bus services, especially in coastal areas.