Spain launches new low-cost train Iryo
Cibeles fountain at Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain.
The train operator hosted its inaugural trip for special guests on Monday, November 21, between Madrid and Valencia. However, from Friday, November 25, the route between Barcelona and Madrid will officially be open to the general public, with other routes to destinations, including Valencia and Malaga, to roll out soon after.
The service launching on Friday will have 16 daily trips between the two cities and stop halfway in Zaragoza. According to Iryo, there are a number of different ticket options and packages, however, the average price for a one-way ticket is €18. Iryo is beginning its roll out with 20 trains for this service before rolling out a Madrid-Valencia service in mid-December. In March 2023, services from Madrid to Sevilla, Malaga, Cordoba and Antequera will also launch, as well as a route to the eastern city of Alicante in June.
Iryo is Spain’s third major high-speed train operator and is partially owned by Italian company TrenItalia. It currently competes with Ouigo, owned by French railway company SCNF and the Spanish state-owned Renfe. Ouigo offers services from Madrid to Barcelona and Valencia but hopes to introduce routes to Alicante and Andalusia next year. When Ouigo launched, Renfe quickly launched their own low-cost, high-speed service called Avlo in 2021, which runs to various destinations, including Barcelona, from as low as €7. There is heavy competition between the three operators, with Ouigo currently having the most passengers. The investment into Spain’s third train operator has cost almost €1 billion, and the company has the contract for the next ten years. If predictions are correct, the company will occupy 30% of the country’s rail network and plans to serve more than 8 million passengers per year.
Although Iryo’s lowest one-way fare starts from €18, which is far higher than Ouigo (€9) and Alvo (€7), the company will allow passengers to change their journey times, which is not offered by their competitors. Iryo promises to be the quietest, most sustainable and fastest train in Europe. Passengers will have access to fast 5G internet, and 95% of its trains are made from recyclable materials, reducing carbon footprints by up to 80% per person per journey. Spain has been heavily focused on combatting the cost-of-living crisis this year and introduced a free train travel scheme on regional services, which will be continuing throughout 2023.
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