Renfe: Comments after the trip.
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Oct 26, 2012 6:16 AM Last Post By: marichel1981
Oct 24, 2012 8:34 AM
Renfe: Comments after the trip.Renfe Now that I am back from my trip and Renfe is behind me, I thought I would come back here and drop some comments regarding Renfe.
I travelled on the AVE trains 3 times and a Regional train. The AVE trains are quite fast but don’t appear to be when you are sitting inside, they clocked 300km/hr a few times. They seem to be always on time and totally efficient, unlike the Renfe website. The interiors of these trains are immaculate and the seats are extremely comfortable. None of them were even close to full, and I booked them between 24 to 48 hrs beforehand. So if you are just buying a ticket at the station there should be no problem. They have a decent selection of music channels and also show a movie, I never did go and use the cafeteria wagon as I always brought my own vittles.
When I arrived in Madrid I went to the Renfe Customer service desk in T-4 and bought a Spain Rail Pass for Euro160 (plus Euro3 for admin). Luckily the guy there could speak decent English. I told him I had been trying for 2 months to buy internet discount tickets with absolutely no luck, I said that I then tried to also buy the Spain Rail Pass online also with no luck. His response was: The reason it would not accept your Credit Card is because you have not used that Credit Card on the Renfe site before. (I’m not even going to start to analyze the silliness of that…and there was absolutely no point in pointing out to him that when you are coming over to Spain on a vacation…chances are pretty good you have never used you CC on the Renfe site before)…anyway moving on…
One thing I would like to point out is that on one of the legs: Sevilla to Valencia, I wanted to go in the morning but the only morning trains went via Madrid and a change of train…on the 4 trip Spain Pass that would have been 2 trips used…So the only direct was at 5pm which arrived in Valencia at 9:15pm…From the writeup of the Spain Pass it seemed to me beforehand that any trip including local trains on either end to complete the trip were included in that leg, but not so or I read it wrong.
Anyway, Spanish trains are absolutely the way to go if you’re going from city to city, so easy to navigate the stations/platforms etc..
Oct 24, 2012 10:19 AM
1thanks for the report on that new Spain Rail Pass!
Note: a fantastic rail system is what a Socialist government will get you! The government is heavily indebted from building it and it will never be profitable.
Oct 24, 2012 10:28 AM
2From the writeup of the Spain Pass it seemed to me beforehand that any trip including local trains on either end to complete the trip were included in that leg, but not so or I read it wrong
As a local I don't qualify for a Spain Pass but I've just read the rules and you read rightly.
If it works the same way than for locals (or foreigners without the pass) traveling by high speed train, in order to get your free ticket in a cercanías train you have two options:
1) Go to a ticket box office at your departure/arrival train station and show your high speed train ticket.
2) Go to a self-service machine and introduce the combinado cercanías code written in your high-speed train ticket.
I don't recall what's the time limit before the arrival of your high-speed train and the departure of your cercanías train or how many time before the departure of your high-speed train you can't get your free cercanías train ticket though.
Can you provide more details of what happened in your case? Didn't you have the code? Wasn't the train you wanted to take a cercanías (commuter)? Who told you you can't get a free ticket for a cercanías train?
BTW, this free guide can be useful for those trying to book a ticket in the web of RENFE although, of course, it doesn't solve all the problems.
Oct 24, 2012 11:55 AM
Oct 24, 2012 12:34 PM
4#2... With the Euro160 Pass...you get 4 trips that you can use within one month from the 1st usage. According to my figuring my trips were going to be as follows:
Madrid to Seville travelling on a Sunday at around 11am
Seville to Valencia travelling on a Wednesday 5pm
Valencia to Vinaros travelling on a Friday around 2pm
Vinaros to Madrid travelling on a Wednesday around 1pm.
I ended up paying for the Valenica to Vinaros (Euro11.10...cheapest leg), because the Vinaros >Madrid route was split in Valencia as there is no direct to Madrid. I also had to take a really late train in Seville to Val as there is only 1 direct per day. So for the purpose of the Spain Pass .. each leg is only considered if it is direct. Seville to Valencia if it is via Madrid is considered 2 legs as well as Vinaros to Madrid. Its not the end of the world by any means but if anyone is planning a trip they may want to keep that in mind otherwise they could be out of pocket all of a sudden..
#3.. You are correct as I was sitting next to a white collar guy on my Sunday trip who told me that many people commute between Sevilla & Madrid for work. But as you can see above when I travelled I can certainly say that the train was maybe 48% full in each case...very few tourists, mostly Spanish and that was tourist class, maybe they were all in 1st class !!
Oct 24, 2012 12:44 PM
5***Can you provide more details of what happened in your case? Didn't you have the code? Wasn't the train you wanted to take a cercanías (commuter)? Who told you you can't get a free ticket for a cercanías train?***
Actually I never used a cercanias train... Except for Valencia-Vinaros-Valencia, they were all point to point with AVE...and the others were Talgo and Regional Express...
When I went to the ticket office (and finally complied with taking a number and working out their system)...I said I'd like to book Valencia to Vinaros & Vinaros to Madrid and gave him my pass...thats when he got the hangdog look and started slowly shaking his head ... reason being because I already used 2 legs and according to him my request involved 3 more legs 1 more then I had.... I believe he put my request in and the computer told him I only had enough for 2 legs not 3...
Oct 24, 2012 12:53 PM
6#1 Well who am I to complain right :)... A good excuse to go to Spain and use the rail system and help pay for it.
I'm sure the local Spaniards appreciate the great transportation.
The shuttle bus from Atocha to the Airport is also very efficient and costs Euro5, yet you arrive in Valencia JS and their is a free shuttle bus constantly running between SJ and Nord stations...hopefully they will build a skytrain or similar.
Oct 24, 2012 1:04 PM
Oct 24, 2012 1:55 PM
8@marichel1981: I understand how the pass works. When you said in your original post:
From the writeup of the Spain Pass it seemed to me beforehand that any trip including local trains on either end to complete the trip were included in that leg, but not so or I read it wrong.
I thought you tried to get a cercanías ticket and weren't allowed to make it. And that's why I asked about it. Your route from Vinaròs to Valencia couldn't be included as a free ticket because there aren't cercanías trains making it.
In short, each train you take discounts one of your available journeys. The only trains you can take for free (i.e. without wasting one of your available journeys) are cercanías trains and only if you take them just after the arrival or just before the departure of one of the direct trains you got through your pass. There's a time frame before the departure of your train and after the arrival of it to get your free cercanías ticket but I don't recall it.
For more info, those interested can take a look here.
P.S.: It would be interesting to see if there aren't problems trying to get with your pass a free cercanías ticket if you arrive (or depart) not in a high-speed train but in a Medium distance train.
Oct 24, 2012 2:16 PM
Oct 24, 2012 2:53 PM
10I may not be the only one to assume this thats why I thought it may be useful to others.
Don't get me wrong. Your info, of course, will be useful for other travelers planning to purchase RENFE's Spain pass. I only tried to provide further info/clarification about the possibility of getting free tickets in cercanías trains as I thought it wasn't clear enough.
Oct 24, 2012 3:37 PM
11One thing that I've noticed on European branches is that travellers from outside Europe, assume that travelling by train is like taking flights. It isn't.
You don't need to book ahead, instead you just turn up at a train station and buy a ticket. In worst case, before Christmas season, Easter, you can book in advance, to make sure you get a seat.
It's easy and doesn't require much thinking or planning. And, there's always a choice, train or bus.
Oct 24, 2012 5:07 PM
Oct 25, 2012 5:11 PM
Oct 26, 2012 6:16 AM
14Yes the massive discounts were the only reason for persisting and not succeeding. Too much opinion on forums etc. regarding security was also off kilter, as well as TV coverage of the situation in Spain is as usual 90% unrealistic. Take most of what you read/see with a pinch of salt.
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