The national railway company of Spain has announced that a new low-cost line connecting Barcelona and Madrid will launch in 2019. The Alta Velocidad Española (or AVE) service has plans to drop its current €98 Euro ($121 USD) ticket price by up to 25% for its new service in a move intended to draw younger travelers.
How will AVE’s new service be able to afford the cheaper tickets? Relying on a keyword that has come to define the era, Minister of Public Works Íñigo de la Serna promises that it will use “smart” trains that reduce labor costs. This means that there will be almost zero human interaction in purchasing and using a ticket, which will be reserved online and scanned by the ticket holder at the station.
Eventually, biometric scanning will replace e-tickets, because you can’t have “smart technology” without unnerving overtones of an Orwellian future in which our bodies are watched and recorded at every moment and there is no escape.
But there is free wi-fi! At least that is what the new service promises on the line that will offer five daily trains between a station near Barcelona’s airport and Madrid’s central station. Other smart technologies include an app that will allow passengers to book taxis and connecting trains while buying their ticket.
In keeping with their name, these high-speed trains will travel at around 200mph, transporting passengers between the two iconic destinations in the same 3-hour timeframe as before.