Today’s Solutions: May 20, 2024

As the cost of living continues to climb ever higher, some governments are taking their time as they draw up and execute plans that will help support their citizens. Spain’s governing bodies, on the other hand, are charging full steam ahead to relieve their people of at least some financial burdens as soon as possible.

Spain has already slashed the cost of public transportation in half, reduced VAT, and cut tax on fuel—but it won’t stop there. Earlier last week, the government announced a scheme that would make a significant number of short- and medium-distance train journeys (run by state-owned operator Renfe) free of charge from September first to the end of the year.

Spain’s other public transport measures

This move works in tandem with another new policy in which the central Spanish government promised to fund between 30 and 50 percent discounts on all public transport throughout the nation.

“This measure encourages to the maximum the use of this type of collective pubic transport to guarantee the needed daily commute with a safe, reliable, comfortable, economic, and sustainable means of transportation, amid the extraordinary circumstances of the steady increase of energy and fuel prices,” said the Spanish Ministry of Transport in a statement.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared that these decisions surrounding public transport are a direct response to the cost of living crisis.

“I am fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people face,” he said. “I know that your salary is getting less and less, that it is difficult to make ends meet, and that your shopping basket is becoming more and more expensive.

“I am going to work my skin to the bone to defend the working class of this country.”

It’s worth noting that the scheme does not apply to long-distance journeys, nor single ticket purchases, which means that those who will benefit are season ticket holders—and most likely local residents rather than tourists. 

However, tourists looking to explore the country and hop from one major city to another will be able to take advantage of free multi-trip tickets.

Save some cash—and the planet!

On top of helping citizens save much-needed funds, cutting the prices of public transport will reduce the impact of inflation and the way in Ukraine on Spanish residents. It will also tackle the climate emergency by encouraging people to leave their private (polluting) cars at home or even skip air travel in favor of the more environmentally friendly option of shared public transport.

For this reason, Germany has also decided to slash costs for public transport. You can read the article we wrote about it here.

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