Now, the country’s Minister of Finance María Jesús Montero has pledged €700 million to extend the scheme until the end of next year – and it could be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
“We are going to convert this policy into a structural one and we will see the concrete results of public transport to reduce CO2. It is a priority policy in the coming years,” she said.
The environmental and social impacts of these free multi-trip tickets will be reevaluated then to see if it is worth continuing with the scheme.
The Minister of Finance added that free travel had already made it possible for a large number of citizens to abandon their cars and travel by train instead.
Free tickets are available on all Renfe commuter trains (Cercanías and Rodalies) and mid-distance regional lines covering journeys of less than 300km (Media Distancia routes).
The 100 per cent discount is only available on multi-trip tickets, not singles. Travel on other services, including long-distance trains and those operated by other companies, will not come under the measures.
This could mean free train travel between cities like Barcelona and Seville or Madrid and Bilbao – if you are willing to commit to buying a season ticket.
Although the tickets are free, a deposit of €10 or €20 is required to take advantage of the offer. You must have made at least 16 journeys by the end of December for this to be refunded.