In this series, we will analyse the transport system in Spain. Depending on the area where you live, your preferences, and budget, you will judge it one way or the other.
In relation to your location, bear in mind that the city/metro area/region where you are based in have a great influence on the quality, variety and frequency of the service.
- By Bike
- Bus: city centre and outskirts
- Metro and light railway
- Train: commuting
- Taxi and Peer-to-Peer Transportation
- Motorbikes and Scooters
- Bus: medium and long-distance
- Train: medium and long-distance
In recent years we have witnessed an increase in their usage, partly thanks to a growing awareness of their advantages: they are friendlier to the environment, more economic, and promote physical activity.
Although car and bus drivers have overall become more tolerant and there has been a steady increase in the availability of bicycle lines, their use is still far less extensive than countries like the Netherlands, Germany or the Nordics.
On the other hand, many sharing systems promoted by city councils have been put in place in recent years. According to Ciclosfera, Spain ranks 3rd worldwide in terms of shared bicycles after China and France. Also, Über-like services such as Ofo, Obike and Donkey Republic have started operating in several cities.
Bus: City Centre and Outskirts
The advantages of buses are their low cost and that they allow you to get to places otherwise only reachable by private transport. Depending on the date and time, the disadvantages are the low frequency, the exposure to traffic jams, and tight crowds.
In most places, 10-journey tickets are available. Also, in cities and major metropolitan areas they can be part of a monthly pass. The cost in the outskirts will obviously depend on how far your municipality is from your destination.
I use the bus service to travel to the outskirts a lot and I am satisfied with it, especially thanks to the availability of night services. The quality of the service, however, varies from place to place and requires you to be sharp in order not to wait too long for the next bus. The existence of Mobile Apps that track when a bus is approaching your stop can be helpful for this reason, although remember to leave a certain margin since their timing is not 100% precise.
Metro and Light Railway
The metro is available, as you can imagine, in the biggest cities. It is very convenient unless you are obliged to commute in the rush hour. 10-journey tickets and monthly passes are usually available.
Cities with the metro in Spain: Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Sevilla, and Alicante (light railway only).
Interestingly, Madrid’s Metro ranks 9th in the world in terms of network length (293 Km), Barcelona’s ranks 30th (139 Km), and Bilbao’s 80th (51 Km). These are good positions considering that these cities rank much lower in population in relation to their metropolitan areas (55 and 70 in the case of the first two).
People from outside of Spain tell me that Spain’s metro services are impressively reliable, something I agree with.
In the next posts we will continue analysing the pending and previously outlined transport options.
Links of Interest:
Ciclosfera, España es el tercer país del mundo con más bicicletas compartidas (Spain is the 3rd country in the world in shared bicycles terms).
Mapas de Metro, Metros de España (Spain’s Metros)
Metrobits, World Metro Database
Top 10 Hell, Top 10 Countries with Most Bicycles per Capita
Xataka, Los Uber de las bicis llegan a España (The Übers of the bicycles arrive to Spain)
Worldatlas, The 150 Largest Cities in the World
Photos: Carriage in Sevilla. City centre bus in Granada. Metro sign of Velazquez Station in Madrid.