The arrival of the high-speed train to the Costa del Sol has marked a milestone in the history of the province of Malaga, above all for the revolution it has wrought in transportation. The high speed train AVE covers the route from the Spanish capital Madrid to Malaga in a little more than two and a half hours, and since the recent opening of the bypass at Atocha Station in Madrid that allows trains to pass through the capital without stopping, Barcelona is five hours and forty minutes away.
The high-speed rail network link has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, with the new mode of transportation serving 1.9 million passengers in its second year. The arrival of the AVE in Malaga, in fact, was the start of a new era that continues to be reflected in the figures for travelers transported in its second year of service.
Thanks to the AVE, Malaga occupies a strategic position, with almost four million travelers using the AVE trains between Malaga and Madrid during its first two years of service. The figure this year has been slightly lower than it was last year: 1,939,200 persons.
Over this period the AVE high-speed train has become a service greatly valued by travelers, and it is the most heavily used transport link between the centre of the peninsula and the Costa del Sol. In this scenario, weekend getaways have taken on particular importance and this is producing positive effects on the capital city’s hotels.
According to RENFE’s most recent quality surveys among these users, the perceived quality index is 7.9 on a scale of 10, which is almost an outstanding rating. The most highly rated aspects include the ease of boarding and leaving the train, treatment by personnel, cleanliness and the interior design of the trains. The changes and improvements represented by this infrastructure are already yielding unquestionable benefits to millions of people, enabling quick getaways for business or pleasure to the Costa del Sol, Madrid, Cordoba, Barcelona and many other destinations.
In addition to this there is the success of the María Zambrano Terminal, which has quintupled the original area from 9,720 square meters to more than 50,000. The investment of 134.7 million euros has made it possible to increase the parking capacity by 1,219 spaces and to improve the rail infrastructure. The project has also converted Vialia (María Zambrano Station) into a complete and important leisure centre that, among other features, boasts ten cinema screening auditoriums with seating for 2,500 spectators, a virtual reality centre, a bowling alley and eighty commercial outlets. The complex services both the long distance and commuter routes and connects with the nearby Malaga bus station. Connections with one of the underground lines that the city is to have are also under consideration.