On May 10, the new high-speed railway operator Ouigo launched its trains into commercial service, which will link the cities of Madrid and Barcelona with a time trip of two and a half hours and fares starting at 9 Euros. With this implementation, the French operator becomes the first to enter the Spanish market following the liberalization of passenger rail transport in our country.
The new operator will offer in total 10 daily departures ─five per direction─ linking Madrid and Barcelona with just a 2h 30min journey time, with stops in Zaragoza and Tarragona (the latter from May 27). The departures from Madrid are scheduled at 7.05, 10.05, 14.10, 17.25 and 21.00 h, and from Barcelona at 6.45, 10.40, 13.45, 17.40 and 20.45 h.
These services will be provided with a modern fleet of 14 Alstom’s Euroduplex double-deck trains, each of which with 509 seats. With dynamic fares starting at 9 Euros, all Ouigo tickets are totally customizable. The basic price includes one piece of hand luggage and one piece of cabin luggage, as well as the option to transfer the ticket to someone else up to one day before departure.
From this price, passengers can also purchase additional services according to their needs, such as additional or extra large luggage for 5 Euros, flexible ticket (which allows the ticket holder to make changes to the departure date and time free or charge) for 7 Euros, or travelling with a pet for 10 Euros. In addition, for just an extra 9 Euros, passengers can purchase the Ouigo Plus option, which includes an additional entertainment package and extra amenities.
Ouigo offers a flat rate of 5 Euros for children between the ages of 4 and 13, and tickets for children under the age of 3 are free as long as they don't occupy a seat. The company also offers discounts for large families. Furthermore, Ouigo trains have an on-board café car attended by the crew with several seats and bar service.
The operator plans to keep increasing its activity in Spain and in the following months will expand its services to the Mediterranean corridor and Andalusia, reaching the cities of Valencia, Alicante, Cordoba, Seville and Malaga. The company plans to offer up to 30,000 seats per day once its three routes are fully operational.