In 2020, rail passenger traffic will be opened up to the competition in Spain. Looking ahead to this situation, Renfe will launch a new low-cost, intelligent AVE high-speed train. This will be called EVA and it will have all the new technologies, while tickets will be between 20% and 25% cheaper. This new service will begin to run on the Madrid-Barcelona line and its operations centre will be in El Prat de Llobregat.
The El Prat station will have to be refurbished to accommodate the new train service. “The investment is not a big one. Some 2 million euros,” Public Works Minister Íñigo de la Serna said during a presentation of EVA.
Renfe expects to start this new low-cost AVE offering five daily frequencies each way, transporting 1,05 million passengers per year. Of that number, 400,000 travellers are expected to come from car users and another 250,000 will be the result of the new mobility generated by the service itself.
For the time being, Renfe intends to face up to any competition which presents itself with the new EVA (the name is AVE in reverse). This is especially true in specific segments of demand, like young people, the car and the new shared mobility systems which platforms like ‘BlaBlaCar’ promote. At the same time, the traditional AVE has already won the battle with the plane as far as trips within the Iberian Peninsula are concerned and the new service will include the possibility of completing the journey with door-to-door connections.
“We want to be capable of getting ahead of ourselves and plan our actions in this deregulation process,” de la Serna said. “If we didn’t do anything, we would end up losing Spain’s leading position and it’s now the time to advance,” he added.
Renfe will include in the new service “the latest advances” in the market in terms of transport and technology. So there will be no physical ticket for the EVA, just a digital one, and it will also have biometric identification. Whatsmore, it will have all the transport services you get with a train ticket. The new service will also allow for the possibility of complementing a train journey with other urban transport services, like taxis, commuter trains, the underground, bus or hire car. So the traveller will be offered solutions from point to point.
The trains will also offer Wifi services and continuous communication with the traveller via an App, which will provide information on the journey and activities of interest in the destination, amongst other things.