To conclude with the transport series of posts, started with post I, we will now provide some closing remarks about the system and share additional experiences from our own perspective.
Beyond the usual political and lobbying interests, Spain has invested heavily in developing its transport system, mainly through its road, train, and airport infrastructures. Catering to the tourism industry, a key contributor to our economy, has been one of the main reasons for that. Investment in sea ports has also been significant, although more for freight transportation. The lack of navigable rivers also explains this approach.
When on the road with a car or a bike, be careful with speed limits since there are many radars that will detect if you exceed them, resulting in significant fines or even the suspension of your driving license. One piece of good news is that for minor infractions you can pay half the amount of the fine if you do so as soon as you receive the notification.
Occasional strikes occur. Nevertheless, their overall system reliability is good and, if they take place, they are announced in advance and you are notified if your service is affected.
Be careful in the large stations and on busy lines since pickpockets might ‘work’ in them. It is suggested that you keep your valuables close and look after them.
When travelling to/from tourist train stations, ports or airports from/to hotels or apartments in a nearby location, a way to save money is via shuttles that can be booked in advance, particularly if your departure/arrival is early or late. I used this service once from the Tenerife Sur airport to my accommodation in Playa de las Américas and was satisfied with the outcome.
Another increasingly popular transport option is the electric board/scooter. The other day my cousin Sergio proudly showed/pitched me his recent acquisition that allows him to abandon his car (economic and ecological reasons) for urban trips (he resides in a small city). His device could reach out-of-the box speeds up to 25Km/h (+15Ml/h), being also able to go up some steep roads. Yes, I tested it and I am open to using it in the future.
Overall, the most popular public transport is the bus, except for big metropolitan areas where metro is more commonly used.
In the specific segment of long-distance transport within Spain for 2017, +36 million passengers took the aeroplane, +21 million the high-speed train (AVE), +16 million the bus, +11 million other train services, and +10 million the boat. All categories experienced growth, with the aeroplane again taking the number one position (+8% year over year growth).
What do you think of the transport system in Spain? Which is your favourite way to travel? Any additional insight or experience to be shared?
Links of Interest:
Amazon, Xiaomi Scooter
Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT), Límites genéricos de Velocidad (Generic speed limits)
Hosteltur, Ranking 2017 Transporte de viajeros en España (Medium and long-distance transport ranking)
Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), Estadística de Transporte de Viajeros (Passengers transport survey)
Shuttle Direct, Tenerife – South Airport to Playa de las Américas
Photos: Madrid-Barajas Airport, Terminal 4. Speed limits infographic. Xiaomi electric board/scooter.