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IS THIS THE AGE OF THE TRAIN?

A train in Spain

A direct bus link from both Torrevieja and Benidorm to the High Speed Train network has been approved by the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The initial plans show that the bus would run from both tourist rich towns to the newly built station at Villena, which has direct links to the coastal motorway network, but this is subject to approval by all parties involved, and may yet end up being Alicante.

A meeting was held in Madrid, attended by representatives from the towns, including Torrevieja Mayor, Eduardo Dolón, and train operator RENFE, with a hope of being able to launch the service at this week´s FITUR tourism festival in Madrid, where it is hoped that the combined ticket and service will be promoted to visitors attending the event.

This is the first time such a service will be launched in the area, with passengers able to buy a complete ticket for their journey to include the road section to Torrevieja or Benidorm. This will also prove to be a tester in terms of passenger numbers, statistics of which may well coincide with the feasibility study recently awarded to the company la Mercantil TRN Ingeniería y Planificación de Infraestructuras SA by the Ministry of development, to investigate the possibility of restoring main line rail services (Valencia-Alicante, Tren de la Costa) into Torrevieja.

That study alone will take 8 months to complete at a cost of 689.193 euro, with a number of different routes are being considered. However, the route currently gaining most favour would appear to be the old railway line connecting Torrevieja with Albatera which is currently being used as a footpath and bike lane, sections which are still costing Torrevieja tax payers to rent from the rail infrastructure company.

The study will also consider current transport demands, as well as recommending the number of services required, frequencies and travel times, data which will be either supported or dismissed by the reality of number who may choose to use the new bus link, which is hoped will become more popular than the direct airport bus, which became a costly exercise during the test phase with hardly any take-up by passengers.

Torrevieja had its own rail link for over a century. The branch between the city and Albatera was in use from 1884 to the late 80s before it was excluded from the route of the AVE. Access to the resort town is now mainly by road with the Alicante-Elche Airport over 50 kilometres away.

The Torrevieja mayor, Eduardo Dolón said that the study showed “the close collaboration with the Government of Spain, in the first-major-review that will benefit the entire region of the Vega Baja”, announced in the early stages of the run up to the next elections of course.

For their part, the Los Verdes green party had already collected more than 12,000 signatures in favour of the reinstatement of a rail line that it said would greatly benefit a large percentage of the population that does not have the use of private vehicles.

This week, the greens have once again seen reason to criticise the PP mayor of Torrevieja, for his government´s lack of physical commitment to public transport, after residents have been going to renew their “Citizen Card”, which they purchase to use instead of the free bus travel that had previously been provided, only to find that the cost of the card has increased, without any notification from the town hall.

The Los Verdes described the near 30% increase in the card as an example of the “Disinterest and mismanagement of the PP, in the city of Torrevieja, which economically punishes the residents of the municipality, significantly increasing the high tax burden to which they are forced as a result of many years of political corruption, extravagance and waste.”

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