Each time we travel by train (or other way of public transport), we must buy a ticket for each of the passengers, even if they occupy a seat or not and even if they pay or not (children under four travel for free but they don’t get a seat. Children from 4 to 14 pay 60% of the ticket and they do get a seat). They have to carry their own ticket, which makes sense because the company needs to keep register of everyone in case of breakdown, accident or anything that may happen
Those of you who are parents to more than one small kid will wonder how to get the second train ticket for your little ones. You’ve gone through the Renfe website a thousand times, haven’t you? You’ve phoned information, haven’t you? Exactly, you’ve just come across reality: it can’t be done.
Last week I threw myself into the adventure and decided to travel by myself with Eva (eighteen months) and Samuel (two weeks) to reunite in Madrid with Dani. It was a very short journey and in a comfortable train such as the AVE, it was perfect for a first trial.
For the outbound journey there was no problem: they only let you get a minor’s ticket at the time of buying it, but if you search on the website you can get into “other traveling options”. From there you go to “add < 4 child” and it’s done! Each of them had their ticket and both on top of mum.
For the return I tried to associate the ticket as before and wasn’t able. I assumed it was another of the errors of the website and decided to solve it right there. I’ll summarize for you the long conversation I had with the lady at the counter and I assure it’s quite sweetened because apart from the unpleasant situation, the manners were not the kindest in the world.
– Mrs, you can’t get on the train with two minors, if you managed to get a ticket for the outbound it must have been a failure in the system. At last!
– My apologies, I know that it’s not your fault but I think it’s a fraud and totally absurd that I have to buy a ticket that we’re not going to use. Just out of curiosity What do people with twins do?
– Do you want the ticket or not?
– Yes, if there’s no remedy. You can also give me a reclamation sheet while you’re at it, let’s see if by protesting, some measures are taken..
The story concluded with me buying a business class ticket that we weren’t going to use. Mainly because the seat was at the other side of the carriage.
I gather that it’s not a common situation and that a parent who is traveling by himself/herself with two small children the last thing on their list is to fill a complaint. Maybe that’s why they haven’t come out with a solution. I also understand it’s necessary for all passengers to be registered just in case, but from there to saying that my newborn is five so we can buy an extra ticket is definitely not the solution, it’s a joke. Because the uncomplaining parents who travel alone will have to manage just the same with two kids in their arms than paying a lot more. Even worse if, like in my case, they give you such a remote seat that you can’t even use it to leave your bags.
This situation makes me reconsider many things, given that I used to travel by train almost every week.