One of the new AVLO train units / ñisur

Renfe’s low-cost high-speed trains will start operating Malaga service next year

The first private operator will be running a rival service to and from Madrid from 31 March and Renfe's own low-cost Avlo trains will also start in 2023

IGNACIO LILLO MALAGA

The new year brings good news for people who use the high-speed train service between Malaga and Madrid, as there will be more services, new operators creating competition for the Renfe rail company and a consequent reduction in fares.

Francisco Arteaga, business director of Renfe’s high-speed service, has announced that the company’s Avlo low-cost trains which are already operating to Barcelona and Valencia from the Spanish capital will start running to the Costa del Sol as well.

In addition, the low-cost Iryo trains will operate to Malaga from the end of March, and Ouigo will also be operating a low-cost high-speed service at the end of next year. Iryo will be the first privately-run service in the region.

Fifteen years of the AVE

Arteaga, speaking at an event to commemorate 15 years since the first AVE high-speed service began operating Malaga on 23 December 2007, said it had become busier and busier every year until the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of Covid-19 the service has been reduced, but he said it will be practically back to normal from 23 January 2023.

Despite fewer AVE services running between Madrid and Malaga during 2022, in the past 12 months the route has been used by almost the same number of passengers as in 2019, at around 30 million. That figure is 96% of passenger numbers before the pandemic.

With regard to fares, Arteaga said the current system “guarantees the best possible price at every moment,” although fares depend on how far in advance the tickets are booked and the availability of trains at off-peak times.

With Renfe running more high-speed trains and the arrival of competing companies, it is likely that prices will drop in the next few months.