Spain to open up to private operators in 2014

Private operators will be allowed to bid for licenses to operate long-distance and high-speed lines next year, the Spanish government has said.

From “the first half of 2014″ privately-owned train operators will be able to take over the running of some long-distance and high-speed AVE services from state-owned operator Renfe.

Minister of Public Works, Ana Pastor made the announcement on December 3, saying that opening up the Spanish market to the private sector would “provide a wider range of services, competitive prices” and increase the number of people using public transport in the country.

The process of liberalisation began earlier this year when the Spanish government announced that it was to allow private operators to bid for tourist rail services including Transcant√°brico, Al Andalus Express and La Robla.