What will happen with Spain's free public transport in 2024?

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What will happen with Spain's free public transport in 2024?
What will happen to free train travel in Spain in 2024? Photo: Draceane / Wikimedia Commons

People in Spain have enjoyed state-funded free or discounted travel on several different transport networks for more than a year now, but with the current measures due to finish at the end of 2023, what will happen in the year to come?


Throughout part of 2022 and the whole of 2023, Spanish citizens, residents and even tourists have been able to benefit from free public transport in Spain.

The free train travel offer first came into force on September 1st 2022 and was originally due to finish at the end of that year, but the government extended it until December 2023. It was designed to help people manage the effects of inflation.

Passengers could obtain free travel by paying a €10 deposit on Cercanías or Rodalies commuter trains and a €20 deposit on Media Distancia (mid-distance) trains.

The deposit was then returned after every three months if at least 16 trips had been made. Some regions also had free bus travel.

The cost of free local and regional transport was covered by a combination of aid from the State and each autonomous region.

Recently Pedro Sánchez, who has now been sworn in for a new term as PM, announced that he wants to make public transport free in 2024, but only for certain groups of people, not for everyone as it was before.

Spain’s new Transport Minister Óscar Puente, said that the price of the ticket “helped us recover in the post-pandemic era”, although stressed that going forward into 2024 the situation would be different.

The government still has to approve the new measure, but the groups of people Sánchez mentioned would still benefit from free in 2024 are:

- Children under 18

- Unemployed

- Young people (Sánchez didn’t yet specify an age, but some media outlets are reporting it’s for those under 24, while others are saying under age 30).


Both Madrid and the Basque Country, announced in November that they would extend transport aid if the Spanish government decided to maintain the benefit in 2024, but it looks like now this is only going to apply to specific people rather than the entire population.

Whatever the government ultimately approves, any measure to offer free transport to these certain groups will have to be agreed upon by the regional governments too.

Madrid authorities have already announced their intention to keep a discount on public transport in the capital in 2024, with price reductions depending on the zone, a discounted single ticket price, cheaper travel for young people and free transport for seniors. 

The Valencian regional government is also planning to offer free transport to specific groups in 2024, as are authorities in Cantabria and Galicia.

In fact, it is very likely that each of Spain's 17 autonomous communities will offer discounts and free travel on their public transport networks in 2024, although they will no doubt wait for the central government to specify the population groups and pass legislation confirming this before implementing their own conditions.

Only the price of the Cercanías network depends on the government, while the price of metro, bus or tram networks corresponds to the regions and town councils.


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