May 31, 2024

Starting 1 May 2012, end-users of Madrid’s Public Transportation System will feel the sting of the sharpest price raises in 10-years. This raise takes place at the same time as the prices of gasoline, electricity and natural gas go up while salaries go down, are frozen or jobs are lost altogether.

End-users of public transportation currently pay 39% of Madrid’s public transportation costs and the rest is was subsidized by the City and State. But due to Madrid’s and Spain’s transportation budget cuts for the city’s transportation system, 11% and 26% respectively, a price “modification” has been called necessary and riders will now pay more of their fair share.

The “modification” affects not only the metro & buses systems, but also the Madrid Airport Express Shuttle Bus, about which I have been singing their praises for the last year. This one-time economical alternative to a private taxi ride will raise prices from 2€ to a whopping 5€ per trip between the Madrid Airport and downtown Madrid. That’s brutal!

To make things more aggravating is the change in price-structure for metro trips. Since the beginning of time, you could ride ’round-and-’round a million times for the price of a single ticket. Starting 1 May 2012, the price-per-ride will depend on the number of stations you’ll pass.  1-5 metro stations will cost 1.50€. From 6-10 stations the price will be “variable” – whatever THAT means! 10+ stations will cost 2€. What fun it’ll be trying to figure this out – especially for the elderly which may not take the metro very often.

Contrary to (possible) popular belief, the Madrid Metro system and EMT bus systems are not the property of the City of Madrid. Theses are for-profit companies with strong ties to the city. But since subsidies were cut, they’ve raised prices, forcing riders to pay more of the actual cost-per-trip. This does sound fair, doesn’t it? It does to me. But such a fierce raise of 29% for the 10-trip ticket, for example? That’s like something throwing a bucket of cold water on you while you’re sleeping!

No one can do without public transportation – except the well-to-do, of course – so we’ll pay the price they ask. We have no alternative. That just means we’ll have less money for food, gas and electricity at the end of the month. It also means we’ll have less to spend on clothing, movie tickets, eating out, and lounging on outdoor terrace bars. This means those entities will then suffer, they’ll close their doors and/or lay-off more people. And spiraling down the drain we all go… We can have a protest march, sure, but we’ll be protesting against the for-profit entities which operate the public transportation systems. And as everyone knows, they have their bottom-lines to consider. Or, we could protest against the budget cuts made by the state. We’ve already done that – and with no positive result. A group of people can unite against a common cause, yes, but if your elected officials pay no attention, then what can you do? What choice do we have?

Sources: Madridiario, Metro de Madrid, EMT

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6 thoughts on “BIG Price Raise in Madrid Public Transportation

  1. If you had talk to finance/economist/accountant people of Spain, you will know the movida was long gone,now its reality check.
    New adjustment that should had taken place years ago but its politically incorrect,now the EU is saying the movida is over get your house in order.

    of course, the common people will pay most due to irresponsable Spanish governments of the past.

    ps I bet is not more expensive than in France ::)

    1. I probably agree. If only they’d given us more time to get used to the idea – or given us smaller increases over several years. And all this comes after the regional government spent billions on extensions, improvements, modernizations. It just seems like they’re calling in their markers now for payback when we didn’t even ask for these improvements in the first place.

  2. It’s still cheaper than other cities!
    I think the only way to really easily impliment the changes is to have a swipe card that you swipe when you get on and swipe when you get off and you charge it up when you need to. Easy as pie. Many other countries have this system and you don’t have to worry about losing your 10 pass or passing it through the washing machine. I’ve lost hundreds of euros that way because I don’t take the metro often enough to need a month pass.

    1. I don’t argue that it’s still cheaper than other cities, but to impose such a sudden, significant rise in prices – for whatever the product or service – is just brutal. Give people a couple years – or three- with small, incremental increases, but BAM! Not like this! A swipe card would be less painful, I agree, much like mobile/cellular phone use in that you pay for usage and pay whatever-it-may-be at the end of the month, biting the bullet.

      1. Well, they have the swipe card in valencia…and I loved it. Much better than this old-school system in Madrid. And I agree with you Mad Man….they needed to do this little by little….buuuuuut still it wouldn´t have mattered because the people would have still complained (And done nothing, something very ´typical spanish´). Every country is having it´s cutbacks but Spain will have to endure a lot…it went from a poor country to a rich one based on fake funds….and now they will have to pay. Such is life…but it´s still cheaper than my car in the US.

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