Commuters in Madrid are set to enjoy four months of free train travel from September after the government announced a 100 percent discount on all local and medium distance trains in Spain.
All commuter train networks ( Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Bilbao, Valencia, Zaragoza amongst others) and mid-distance regional lines covering journeys of less than 300km (Media Distancia routes) run by the Spanish rail operator RENFE will be free for all travellers from 1 September to 31 December.
The 100 per cent discount is available on multi-trip tickets, not singles.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced the measures in an address to the Spanish Congress on Tuesday 12th July, in order to reduce the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in the country.
Inflation has soared in recent months, reaching levels not seen in over 30 years, due in part to the spike in energy prices caused by Russia´s invasion of Ukraine.
“I am fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people face. I know that your salary is getting less and less, that it is difficult to get to the end of the month, and that your shopping basket is becoming more and more expensive,” he said.
The free rail tickets will be funded by a new windfall tax on banks and energy companies that have profited from rising interest rates and energy prices.
The new levy is set to be introduced in 2023 and the government estimates it will generate up to €7 billion in tax over two years.
Sánchez, who heads the Socialist coalition government said that he would “work my skin to the bone to defend the working class of this country.”
The measures are the latest in a string of initiatives to deal with rising inflation including subsidies at the petrol pump and increases in state benefits for vulnerable members of society.