Measures to promote public transport make it possible for 82% of trips under state jurisdiction to be free or discounted travel passes

Aug 5, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The measures adopted by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma) to promote public transport have made it possible for 82% of trips under state jurisdiction to be made with free or discounted season tickets or multi-journey tickets.

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Measures to promote public transport

According to the latest data obtained by the General Secretariat of Transport and Mobility, the implementation of this type of season tickets or multi-journey tickets, a future commitment to sustainable mobility and savings for citizens, has successfully increased the demand for public transport, in addition to attracting users of private vehicles, a transfer that contributes significantly to reducing the environmental impact of this traffic.

Thus, the state public transport services of the companies operating under these discounts (Cercanías, Media Distancia Convencional and Avant, provided by Renfe, and state-owned buses) totalled 167.1 million trips in the last four months of 2022. This reflects a sharp increase in trips compared to 2021 and 2019, before the pandemic, especially in Media Distancia Convencional and Avant.

Likewise, trips on medium- and long-distance public transport bus services as a whole amounted to 70.5 million, according to INE data, which was 28.4% higher than in 2021 and 4.3% higher than in 2019. However, fuel consumption (gasoline plus diesel) remained slightly below 2019 levels.

With respect to 2021, the number of trips increased in Cercanías by 30%; in Media Distancia Convencional, by 89%; in Avant, by 74%; and in state-competition buses with services benefiting from discounts, by 29%. If we compare it with 2019, before the pandemic, the increase is 50% in Media Distancia Convencional, and 19% in Avant. In the case of Cercanías and state buses, it is still lower by 2% and 13%, respectively.

Renfe’s Conventional Media Distancia and AVANT services
Specifically, between September and December 2022, 11.95 million trips were recorded on Conventional Media Distancia services. Of these, 8.3 million were made with the free pass for recurrent passengers, representing 69.5% of the total. The average use was 16.2 trips per pass. In the same period, 3.68 million trips were made on Avant services, 43.3% with a discounted season ticket.

On the other hand, in the last four-month period of 2022, trips on Conventional Media Distancia rail services rose by 42.3% on weekdays and 56.2% on weekends compared to 2019. Between January and May of this year, the increases recorded with respect to 2019 have ranged from 31.1% to 55.5% depending on the month.

On Avant, in this same period, trips grew by 17.2% on weekdays and 23.6% on weekends compared to 2019. Between January and May 2023, increases of between 29.2% and 41.4% were recorded each month compared to 2019.

The increase in the use of medium-distance rail transport (Avant, MD Conventional

) recorded since September 2022, added to the increase also observed in medium and long-distance bus transport, contrasts with the decrease in mobility data over 50 km obtained from the basic studies of the mobility study with big data technology prepared by Mitma, reflecting a shift from private vehicles to public transport.

Hence, fuel consumption (gasoline plus diesel) between September and December 2022 is slightly below the same period in 2019, showing the impact of discounts on the increased use of public transport.

Commuter rail services
Between September and December 2022, 144.15 million trips were recorded on Cercanías rail services. Of these, 87% were made using Renfe + Consorcios discounted season tickets. Only Renfe’s free season tickets were 44%.

In Cercanías, the 2019 records were exceeded during weekends and holidays (+0.7%), while the 2019 values were not reached on weekdays (-8.8%). It is estimated that this different weekly pattern may reflect the effect of telework on the reduction of daily forced mobility in large cities, among other causes.

Although Cercanías does not recover 2019 values, there was a notable boost in trips in September 2022, decreasing the gap observed previously. This recovery was losing intensity until February 2023 and again an improvement is observed again from March 2023.

State-owned buses
In the last four-month period of 2022, there were 7.33 million trips on state-competition intercity bus services that offered discounts to recurrent passengers.

In the intercity buses subject to the measure, 28.1% of the trips recorded in the last four-month period of 2022 were made with the 50% discount passes. Between February and May, with the free travel card in force, the figure rises to 36.2% of the trips registered.