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Tomorrow begins Renfe the revolution in the Spanish high speed network. From 13 hours will open the digital window avlorenfe.com for the sale of 1,000 tickets to travel from April 6 in its new AVLO service. By then, it will have been just over a month since ADIF and Renfe itself have closed the ticket offices of a hundred stations throughout Spain in which the daily flow of travelers does not exceed 60.
The infrastructure and station manager will stop selling on March 31 and Renfe will not continue . Travelers of these lines will be able to buy their tickets in machines -when the operator awards the contest- or already on board the Renfe auditors, who maintains a discussion with the unions about the need for this figure.
They are the two sides of the railway in Spain. A high speed that breaks records and medium and long distance commercial services that languish or lose travelers. Probably, the sales quota of the AVLO will be exhausted in a matter of minutes. The price of five euros per ticket that the operator has set aims to be the hook of a new low-cost AVE that attracts more than one million passengers per year to the railway corridor between the two most populated capitals of Spain, a service that has doubled definitely the pulse to the airlift and that Zaragoza has as the only stop between the origin and the destination.
The sale at the lowest prices in history in Renfe will be repeated for 10 days only for registered users who, unlike the AVE buy nominative tickets that will be subject to significant service restrictions compared to the one offered so far: less luggage allowed, nothing cafeteria on board, payment for seat choice, with no more compensation than legal delays ... As Ryanair demonstrated for decades, there is nothing like low-cost fares to fill planes.
Renfe does it now with trains. It is an operation with which the company chaired by Isaías Táboas advances in modernizing its commercial policy and will squeeze the notoriety offered by the campaign to the last drop . With trains that will have a capacity of 435 seats, out of those five euros on offer, Renfe ensures that the prices per route of the new service will move between 10 and 60 euros, a range much lower than the AVE. The novelty comes just eight months before the high-speed network passed to the first competitors on the tracks for Renfe. Specifically, Renfe's offer aims to block the escape of customers to the French operator SCNF, which has already announced that it will offer a low-cost service between Madrid and Barcelona.
It is this process of liberalization of the passenger market imposed by the European Union that, according to the Government, brings the «democratization of high speed to travel between Madrid and Barcelona and vice versa.
Democratization, for now, sticks to the path between the two largest capitals, plus Zaragoza . But it advances a second wave of demands for cheap AVE connectivity from the capitals that are already attached to the conventional AVE and, surely, of those to which the Ministry of Development has promised to connect in 2021, as is the case in Galicia or 2023, the Basque country.
The first on the list has been the municipality of Lleida. With a population of 140,000 inhabitants, the second Catalan capital was included in the high-speed AVE corridor in 2003, it has already declared the AVLO stop as a vital issue in terms of "equality with other areas of the country" and of competitiveness for Your economic activity Táboas has already advanced that the basis of this democratization is an economic logic, which is that of cheap high-speed tickets to fill trains. Where there is no capacity to fill them, there will be no cheap AVE or, therefore, democratization. It remains to be seen whether, being the managers of Renfe and Adif appointed by the Ministry of Development, AVLO stops will be limited exclusively to economic logic or if it will include, as has happened with the AVE network, a political ingredient. The bid to present potential demands that justify the stop is already underway and Lérida puts 18,000 daily trips to Barcelona on the table of the Ministry of Development.
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