Spain’s low cost train company Iryo launches Andalusia services

The high-speed train company Iryo began its services between Madrid and Andalusia on Friday, March 31st.

Spain’s low cost train company Iryo launches Andalusia services
Iryo launches services to between Madrid and Seville. Photo: Sekau67 / Pixabay

More than thirty years the highspeed AVE began operating in Andalusia, the low-cost offer from Iryo, privately owned by Air Nostrum, Globalvia and Trenitalia, becomes the first Renfe competitor to offer services to Córdoba, Seville and Málaga.

The Iryo high-speed train, like Renfe’s AVE, takes just two hours and 30 minutes between Seville Santa Justa and Madrid Puerta de Atocha stations. It will also connect these cities with Córdoba and Málaga en route.

READ ALSO: Three new low-cost train services launch between Málaga and Madrid

The three Andalusian routes begin to operate this Friday with four daily services, two in each direction. The company has stated that they offer schedules from early in the morning until late at night, with competitive prices in four classes.

To open the routes, the operator launched the sale of 250,000 flexible tickets at €18 to travel on any date in 2023, a promotion that ended last Sunday, March 26th. Due to these sales, the company expects an average occupancy rate of 75 percent on its trains until the end of the year.

Iryo has even predicted that occupancy will reach 100 percent on some routes, which would be “good data driven by the start of Holy Week”, according to sources from the company.

READ ALSO: The best of Spain’s Semana Santa train offers

The Iryo brand began operations in Barcelona in November 2022 and has also expanded to ​​Valencia, planning to continue opening new destinations this year. The services are due to arrive in Antequera, Alicante and Albacete on June 2nd and, Tarragona, on June 15th.

The company will also continue to increase the frequency of its services with the aim of consolidating the routes that it already has available until it has 100 percent of its fleet in operation from September 2023.

Iryo has invested more than €1 billion in its Andalusia services and plans to have a direct contribution to the Andalusian economy of €28.7 million in wages and regional taxes in 2025. It will also create 660 jobs for ground, crew, operations, maintenance and administrative personnel in this same period.

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Can you use your Spanish residency card rather than your passport to travel?

Is it possible to travel around Europe on your Spanish residency card, using that as ID, rather than your passport?

Can you use your Spanish residency card rather than your passport to travel?

What if you’re getting your passport renewed, it was damaged, stolen, or lost, and you need to travel, can you just use your residency card to travel instead?

Unfortunately, the short answer is no.

The tarjeta de identidad de extranjero or Foreign Identity Card, better known simply as TIE is the card that non-EU citizens must get when they come to Spain. It can also prove residency. 

Like a passport, it contains details about your date of birth, gender, nationality, validation and expiration date, as well as a photo. But, it also includes your Foreigner Identity Number or NIE and your residency status within Spain. 

READ ALSO: How long does it take to get or renew a UK passport from Spain?

Essentially it contains most of the same information as Spaniards’ National Identity Documents or DNI cards. But, this is where the confusion might come in, because Spaniards can travel on their DNI cards without the need for a passport.

According to the Spanish government, Spaniards can use their DNI to visit any EU country, as well as Albania, Andorra, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland.

While the TIE and Spanish residency allows you to travel to Schengen countries, without the need for a visa or extra paperwork, you still need to show a valid passport and cannot travel on your TIE alone. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to Spain if my passport has expired?

If your passport was stolen or is lost and you need to travel soon, then you’ll need to apply for an emergency travel document or emergency passport. In order to do this you’ll need to contact your embassy or consulate so they can issue you with one. For those from the UK, you can also apply online.

Remember your TIE

Even though, as we’ve just explained, you can’t travel on your TIE without your passport, you will still need to remember to bring it.

You’ll need this to prove residency in Spain when you return. This way, the border guards won’t stamp your passport, and will still let you back into the country, even if you’ve used up your 90 out of 180 days elsewhere in Europe.

What if I’m an EU citizen and have a green residency card?

Unfortunately, the answer is still no, you still can’t travel on your green residency card. 

The EU green residency card is a document you’ll have if you’re an EU citizen living in Spain. However, it’s not a valid ID. There is no photo ID on the card and essentially it contains little information needed by authorities to travel across borders. 

This means that even if you’re a citizen of an EU member state, you’ll still need a valid passport when you leave or re-enter Spain.