Iryo and AVE high-speed trains at Malaga's María Zambrano. railway station. Salvador Salas
Ticket prices tumble on Madrid to Malaga high-speed trains due to increased competition

Ticket prices tumble on Madrid to Malaga high-speed trains due to increased competition


A return railway trip at Easter will set you back roughly 100 euros, almost half the price compared with last year

Ignacio Lillo


Tuesday, 28 February 2023, 13:32


For the past year, SUR has recieved daily complaints from train commuters, focused on the increase in prices and the lack of availability of seats on trains between Madrid and the Costa del Sol.

However, due to a increase in departures and the arrival next month of a new operator, Iryo, commuters have some fresh hope when travelling between Malaga and Madrid.

Prices have already begun to fall. On Renfe's AVE service, a return trip between Madrid and Malaga on the last weekend of March is currently 118.70 euros. With private operator Iryo, for those same dates, you can pick up a return for 96 euros.

For Easter (from Holy Wednesday to Easter Sunday) the trip on the Renfe AVE from Madrid to Malaga goes up to a minimum of 152.65 euros, which is still a saving when compared to last year's prices. With Iryo, the same route costs from 144.50 euros, and the new operator has already sold out of its basic and medium rates on one of his two routes for Easter Sunday from Malaga to Madrid.

Train services have now almost reached pre-pandemic service levels. Since last 23 January, almost all schedules have recovered after the addition of 14 new weekly trains.

Two daily trains have been added, between Malaga and Madrid, with the number of services on weekends also increasing by six.

New operator Iryo will roll out their service between Malaga and Madrid starting 31 March. Starting with two daily departures and eventually increasing to a possible five in the summer. With the addition of Iryo, the month of April could see the greatest number of trains between Madrid and Malaga in history, with up to 15 trains in each direction. Summer, could see up to 18 daily departures, giving rise to a permanent «rail bridge» between the two cities, as is the case with Barcelona and Valencia.

Rail service concerns

There are still concerns regarding the overall condition of the rail service, however, categorised by delays, breakdowns, and an aging infrastructure.

Recent incidents, such as the one in February, when a breakdown affected a total of 56 medium and long-distance trains between Madrid and Malaga, resulting in delays of 50 minutes, only add to the thought that the infrastructure may not be able to handle the increase in demand.

Some people still choose to fly between Malaga and Madrid with five daily flights operated by Iberia and Air Europa between the cities, with offers sometimes available at 80 euros for a return trip. For now, at least, travelling by train seems to have become a little easier and cheaper.

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