Portugal’s regional train company is to extend its popular tourist ticket scheme to the Algarve.
The discount system was tested on tourists in Lisbon last year and now is to be rolled out in the Algarve.
Passengers "can travel between Vila Real de Santo António and Lagos for two or three consecutive days, without any restriction on the number of trips, for a ticket costing between €20.90 and €31.90 for adults and €15.90 and €23.90 for children."
Due to "the remarkable growth" of the tourist ticket in Lisbon, "released essentially for foreign tourists," Comboios de Portugal "has now decided to extend its use to urban services in Oporto and across the Algarve," the company announced today.
The Algarve's regional train system long has been an ignored tourist facility with a lack of coherent marketing leaving most visitors unaware that a train service exists.
This new, low cost tourist ticket should be but one part in a mix of promotional activity but the train company consistently has failed to use its line and station locations to package the service for tourists.
The dereliction of the train museum in Lagos is indicative of the lack of care and thought that central and regional government have given to this historic railway line which, under the right sort of forward thinking management, could increase seasonal tourism while keeping cars off the region’s roads.
Until the government takes this railway line seriously, little further upgrade work will be approved.
The campaign by former MP Mendes Bota to at least sort out the station toilets also was a complete failure and many of the the facilities look abandoned, graffiti covered and unstaffed.
Selling cut price tourist tickets is one thing, another is having a service that is of sufficient quality for people to want to travel more than once.