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Date: October 2010
Organisation Associació per a la Promoció del Transport Públic
Positive points for public transport in your country:
The Ministry of Fomento (Public Works) has announced the opening of a new HST section of 438 km between Madrid and València and Albacete in December 2010. The new HSL will have only stations in the capitals of province, Cuenca, Albacete and València, and an additional one for the towns of Utiel and Requena. Most of these stations are placed far away from the cities. See attached scheme. The forecast is a demand of 3 yearly millions passengers in the corridor. But the forecast for the new HST axis Madrid-Barcelona was higher than the reality shows (only 5 million yearly passengers in the corridor). The time of travel for direct trains València-Madrid will be 1h 35′. According with the spokesman of the Ministry Spain will become after this opening in the European country with the largest high speed train network. Despite this euphoric declaration, the figures of the state company, Renfe, show a decline in 2009 and 2010 in the use of its network in terms of passengers and pax-km.

The same Ministry announced that in December 2010 two daily French TGV will entry Spain, enlarging the two daily services TGV Paris-Perpinyà until Figueres, across the tunnel in the Spanish-French border. In Figueres, in a new station placed again out of the city, there will be a change of trains to the regional ones that links Figueres with Barcelona. Renfe has not yet announced which kind of trains (direct or ordinary) will be in charge of this link. With the current conditions the time of travel between Barcelona and Paris will be placed in 7 hours.

The associations from both side of the border, PTP in Spain and FNAUT in France, agreed to organise a successfully meeting in Portbou, the 18th September, to claim for a real coordination of the ordinary trains in both sides of the border and to improve the service, taking into account that the opening of the new HST section between Figueres and Perpinyà could threaten the future of these trains. More than 100 people, including majors of the concerned towns and representatives of the French and Spanish counties and provinces, attended the meeting.

Despite the strong and long economic crisis, the figures of the PT in Barcelona in the first 8 months of the year show an increase of 2% in the number of passengers. This new trend compensates the decline that PT in the Catalan capital suffered in 2009.

Negative points for public transport in your country:

The air company Vueling announced a new air service between Lleida and Barcelona at the price of only 19 euro that could threaten the achievements of the HST in this corridor. This flight could be subsidised by the Catalan Government despite the fact that there is a good supply of trains in the corridor that ensure times of travel of only 1 h. Taking into account that the aircrafts that serve the line Madrid-Barcelona start their landing manoeuvres in the city of Lleida, when approaching to Barcelona, its is not very clear how the pilots will proceed with such a flight.