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SpainGuru’s guide to the Madrid public transportation card, aka “el abono”

If you’re planning on living in Madrid for a long period time, I recommend getting a Madrid public transportation card, called an “abono’ in Spanish. The Madrid metro is really easy to use and will take you all around the city, even the outskirts. So here’s how to get it.

What is the Madrid Public Transportation Card?

This little red card includes access to the metro, city buses (EMT), and the regional Cercanías trains (from the city to the suburbs). This monthly card will give you complete access to these various forms of transportation for up to 30 days. After 30 days, all you have to do is find a metro card machine located in every station and pay either cash or card for the next 30 days.

photo by metromadrid.es

Types of Public Transportation Cards

There are 3 types of public transportation cards to choose from and the cost of each depends on your age and which city zones you want to include. The “normal” pass is for ages 26 to 64 and starts at 54,60€ for zone A only (Madrid city center). If you would like access to zones B, C, and E, there will be a difference in price. The “youth” pass is for ages 26 and under and includes all zones of the city for 20€. The “senior” pass is for ages 65 and up and covers zones A to C2 for 12,30€.

metromadrid.es

How to Get it

Getting the actual card for the first time is very simple. First, you have to request an appointment through the Madrid metro website. You will be able to make your appointment at any of the public transportation offices that are located inside the metro. These offices are bigger and are different from the usual ticket counters. You will be able to choose an office in a metro stop near you for your convenience.

photo by espormadrid.es

What you will need

  • For the actual appointment, bring an original copy of either your European Union ID, passport, or Spanish residency card. You will also need a current passport size photo (which can also be taken at the appointment) and a printed and filled-out copy of the Solicitud Tarjeta Transporte Público application.
  • Once you submit your documents, the card will be printed and given to you. You will then be able to charge your card at any of the metro machines and pay the necessary amount for 30 days.
  • You can also complete the process online if it is NOT your first time applying for the public transportation card. However, an in-person appointment is always recommended.

* I also recommend downloading the “Metro de Madrid app” and for a more in-depth article, check out a similar post by Naked Madrid.

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SpainGuru was founded by three American expats in Spain who learned the hard way what it takes to get Spanish work residency.

The road to residency seems long and confusing. But we’re here to let you know that there is hope! It is possible to live and work in Spain long term, even without a corporate sponsor, and we are proof.

Each of us have our distinct stories: Christina’s journey started out as a year abroad to be an English language teaching assistant, Shaheen came to study at Madrid’s IE Business School, and Stacey bought her plane ticket almost on a whim. Read More…