In the last year I flew 24 times. Too many times, according to those ecological footprint quizs. So I decided to give another try to the train, for my usual Barcelona-Alicante trip. Unluckily in Spain the train’s company, “Renfe”, is really prehistoric: there are always delays, tickets are expensive (domestic flights are cheaper and quicker), and is the focus of a lot of political scandals.

Last Christmas they announced a new web, with a new modern system of buying tickets, and discounts up to 60% in the normal price. So far, the reservation system was terribly bad. Can they evolve into something “normal”?

I tried to buy a return ticket, Barcelona-Alicante. Firstly, the old fares are still there. Actually there is a new thing, a Captcha that gives you access to the classical fixed prices… whenever you want to do your trip, the prices are always the same for the same trains, so why do they need to hide them under a Captcha?

But the best part is to arrive… If you want to get access to the new “web fare” (60% off), you must choose “One way” ticket at the first form. This means: you must do the process 2 times, one for your going ticket, and one for the return ticket. Later you have to find a small combo box that let you choose among the fare list… the default is the most expensive option.

Finally a frame with you bank web is opened, to verify you credit card details. You press “Ok”, and suddenly says “this train is not available”… at the end of all the process. Monkeys do better jobs.

After 2 hours I accomplished the mission, I got my ticket with a cheap price. But I suspect that it has been deliberately implemented in this weird system. I imagine people, elders, in the marketing department of Renfe, smiling at the time they say “hehe, we have offered a modern look, but we are not going to let anybody a cheap price ticket”.