Cheaper train tickets in Spain due to price war between Renfe, Ouigo, and Iryo

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cheaper train tickets

Good news for those wanting to travel by train through Spain: The commercial battle between railway companies Renfe, Ouigo, and Iryo continues to push down train ticket prices. Long-distance train travel through Spain is becoming cheaper as a result. The price war emerged after the liberalisation of the railway sector in Spain.

According to the latest report from the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), the prices for train journeys on routes without previous competition fell by 24% to 28% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous year.

Routes with significant price drops

Routes showing the most significant price drops include Madrid-Málaga, with a 28% decrease, and Madrid-Alicante, with a 27.6% decrease. The routes Madrid-Seville (-24.5%) and Madrid-Valencia (-9.4%) have also seen significant price reductions. However, passengers travelling from Madrid to Barcelona are paying 5.2% more for their tickets.

Read also: Low-cost train service Iryo reaches more than 10 million passengers

The CNMC notes that it was possible to travel between Madrid and Valencia for €27. For the Madrid to Alicante route, travellers paid €36. To Barcelona, one could travel for €51. Finally, to Seville for €48 and to Málaga for €44.

Increase in passengers

The drop in prices is attributed not only to ongoing promotions by the operating companies but also to the exponential increase in the number of passengers on routes that had no competition last year. Particularly, the Madrid-Alicante route saw a 62% increase in the number of passengers, followed by the routes Madrid-Seville, Madrid-Málaga, and Madrid-Granada, which saw nearly 50% growth in passenger numbers.

Growth of high-speed trains

In total, high-speed trains reached more than 8.5 million passengers in the first quarter of 2024, a 27% increase compared to the same period last year. Despite the increasing competition, Renfe continues to dominate the market with market shares ranging from 46% to 73% of passengers. Iryo achieved market shares of 24% to 28% on most routes, except on the Madrid-Alicante route. Ouigo maintained about 25% of the market shares on the routes to Levante and 17% on the Madrid-Barcelona route.

Also read: New low-cost Ouigo train routes between France and Spain

Lower prices and better quality

The ongoing competition has not only led to lower prices but also to improvements in service quality. Passengers benefit from better rates and a wider range of options. The competition between Renfe, Ouigo, and Iryo forces the companies to continuously improve their offerings, resulting in a win-win situation for travellers.


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