The much anticipated AVLO, a new low-cost version of Renfe’s AVE, connecting Madrid with Barcelona at high speeds for a fraction of the price, was presumed to begin in April, however this initiative has been put on the back burner due to the coronavirus crisis.
THE Minister of Transport and Mobility, Jose Luis Abalos, has announced that, at least on a short-term basis, this new high speed train will have to be postponed to a later date under which new mobility conditions allow for its operation again.
The Minister admits that “I don’t find it feasible that we can provide a ‘low cost’ service during this short space of time” and that “right now with the current issues about social distancing this would be complicated.
“For some time… the use of public transport will be very different from what we are accustomed to” he warned.
A day after the State of Alarm was announced, on March 14, Renfe suspended the inauguration of its new AVLO which was due to begin connecting passengers between Madrid and Barcelona at a low price yet high speed on April 6.
In the moment of its suspension, the transport operator had already commercialised around a third of its initial sales for the new service. More specifically they had already sold 28 per cent of the 522,000 tickets available for purchase, which equates to around 156,389 seats.
This includes the initial 16,000 tickets which were sold for only €5 as part of the promotional marketing campaign which launched at the end of January. Due to this suspension of services, the operator was forced to refund customers for their purchases.
The initial design of the purchase points was for tickets to oscillate between €10 and €60 in accordance with demand and peak times. On top of this initial price would be added costs such as choosing a specific seat or taking an additional piece of luggage on the train.