Portugal has launched a new train pass that offers passengers unlimited travel on all regional trains for a monthly fee of 49€. The ‘passe ferroviário nacional’ started being accepted on trains as of August 1st and it requires the use of the Comboios de Portugal (CP) Customer Card. The card can only be requested from the 21st day of the previous month and is valid from the first day to the last day of the month.
The passes have been on sale since July 1st and can be purchased at the ticket offices of Portuguese stations, but cannot be combined with other discounts already in force. The new pass will work like any other season ticket: it will have to be loaded on a ‘CP Customer’ card and recharged on a monthly basis in case it is to be used repeatedly.
It is an ecological measure but it is perhaps above all an anti-inflationary measure.Rui Tavares, Member of Portugal’s National Assembly
This ticket is not valid on Alfa Pendular fast trains or InterRegional semi-fast trains. It is also not valid on the so-called “urban” trains, which serve the metropolitan areas of Oporto and Lisbon. However, it is possible to travel across the country from north to south and east to west, as regional trains serve most of the stations.
Travelers can reach major cities such as Valença do Minho, Vilar Formoso, Elvas or Vila-Real do Santo António. This line, which serves the tourist area of the Portuguese Algarve, is one of the most popular during the summer months. The complete map of destinations can be consulted here.
For those travelers who want to complete their trip with stays in the big cities, CP also has tourist passes for sale from 6€ per day to make use of the local trains that allow to reach very popular points such as Sintra or Cascais, in the surroundings of Lisbon; or the beach town of Aveiro, south of Oporto.
“It is a measure for the cohesion of the country, it is an ecological measure but it is perhaps above all an anti-inflationary measure,” Member of Portugal’s National Assembly, Rui Tavares told local media. “These savings are reflected in the wallet of families and every Portuguese in general.”
Comboios de Portugal also offers significant discounts for certain age groups. For example, those over 65 years of age have a 50% discount on all the company’s trains, being able to purchase these tickets on the website, app and stations. In the same line, those under 25 years of age have a 25% discount on all services. These discounts, a priori, will not apply to the new National Rail Pass of 49€.
“This is an economical and environmentally friendly transport solution, which allows travel and other trips with flexibility throughout the national territory, within the scope of the ongoing commitment to sustainable mobility and a more cohesive, green and connected country,” CP said in a statement.
António Costa’s government has managed to push through one of its star measures in terms of mobility and transport. It does so along the same lines as other European economies such as Spain and its public transport discounts or Germany’s single monthly ticket, aligning itself with the EU’s plans in favor of sustainable mobility.
In April 2023, Germany’s ‘Deutschlandticket’ – a €49-pass for local and regional transport – was launched with great success. On Friday March 31st, the Bundesrat approved the project, thus removing the last political obstacle. There had been dissenting views in terms on how much the pass ought to cost, as well as how to finance it. But according to Euronews, transport ministers from 16 different German states agreed on the new €49 monthly fee.
The Deutschlandticket is a subscription issued as an online ticket or smart card and can be cancelled any month. It is valid on all public and regional transport throughout Germany; the pass may not be used on long-distance IC, EC, or ICE trains. The 49€ pass, which can be used from May onwards, is seen as the successor to the 9€ ticket, which was available last summer for three months. It should make regional and local public transport more affordable and thus attract more travelers. After months of struggle, the federal government and the Länder had agreed to each bear half the cost of the ticket.
One of its biggest attractions for users is that the 49€ monthly pass will be valid on all of the country’s regional bus, train and streetcar networks, each of which has myriad fare options that many find bewildering to navigate. “What fabulous news,” Terry Reintke, co-president of the Greens in the European Parliament, wrote on her Twitter account. “And yes: we need to massively expand public transport.”
“With the 9-euro ticket we showed that simplicity is better,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing announced after a meeting with his counterparts from Germany’s 16 states. Wissing said the new ticket would not be printed and could be bought by the month or as a continuous pass.
Data from Germany’s federal statistical office Destatis has shown that short-distance train travel in Germany has increased over the three-month period. Compared to the first quarter of the year (January to March), it went up 46%.
Some German states had already come up with affordable transport options. Berlin, for instance, had 29€ ticket valid on public transport in the region. The ticket can no longer be bought as Berlin’s Transport Company (BVG) has begun to nudge users to switch to the new 49€ ticket.