Spain is rolling out free train tickets all autumn thanks to a windfall tax


Some train journeys in Spain are free from September 1st to December 31st.

The regulation announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on July 12 applies to short and medium-distance trains operated by the national rail operator Renfe. It is open to all nationalities including international tourists.

Complimentary tickets are available on all Renfe commuter trains (Cercanías and Rodalies) and medium-distance regional lines for journeys of less than 300 km (Media Distancia routes).

The 100 percent discount only applies to multi-journey tickets, not single journeys. Travel on other services, including long-distance trains and trains operated by other companies, is not covered by the measures.

This could mean free train travel between cities like Barcelona and Seville, or Madrid and Bilbao – if you’re willing to commit to buying a season pass.

Although tickets are free, a €10 or €20 deposit is required to take advantage of the offer. You must have made at least 16 trips by the end of December to be reimbursed.

50 percent discount on Renfe train tickets was launched back in June to help commuters.

But after reviewing the country’s financial situation, Prime Minister Sánchez decided to make travel completely free for a period of time.

Why is Spain making train travel free?

The free train tickets are intended to mitigate the impact of the country’s cost of living crisis.

Germany introduced a similar measure between June and August with a discounted nationwide public transport pass. For just €9 a month, it gave travelers unlimited use of local and regional services.

But Spain has decided to go one step further by making train travel free on its Renfe services between September and December this year.

“I am aware of the daily difficulties that most people face. I know your salary is going down, it’s hard to make ends meet and your shopping basket is getting expensive,” Sanchez said.

“I will work my skin to the bone to defend the working class of this country.”

Spain’s windfall tax funds the subsidized trips

The free train tickets will be refinanced Windfall Tax on Banks and Energy Companies that have benefited from rising interest rates and energy prices.

The new levy is due to be introduced in 2023 and could generate up to 7 billion euros in two years.

It will also be used to build 12,000 new homes and fund youth scholarship programs.


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