Commuters accuse train driver of intending to halt service after delay arguing end of shift

Passengers 'rebel' to force him reach destination, over three hours later than scheduled

A commuter train in Montcada i Reixac, on February 11, 2022 (by Albert Segura)
A commuter train in Montcada i Reixac, on February 11, 2022 (by Albert Segura) / ACN
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 5, 2022 01:22 PM

November 5, 2022 01:22 PM

Several commuters have accused a Renfe Rodalies train driver of intending to halt a service between Barcelona and Puigcerdà, in the Pyrenees, halfway and leave them stranded after a major delay.

According to passengers on social media, the driver argued that his shift had just ended and that he would not continue the service.

The events happened on Friday at around 10.30pm in Ribes de Freser, near the Pyrenees, five stops away from its destination, Puigcerdà, a town in the Spain – France border.

According to Renfe sources, the driver got in touch with the Spanish government-owned company's management center and continued the route.

Yet, the commuters say that they "rebelled" to force him reach his destination – discussions between passengers and the driver have been posted on social media.

Long journey due to 'failure in infrastructure'

Those in the Barcelona – Puigcerdà R3 service had already reasons to get angry much before the incident in Ribes de Freser.

The train departed from the Catalan capital at 4.30pm, expecting to reach Ribes de Freser at 6.56pm and its final destination, Puigcerdà, at 7.41pm.

Yet, due to "a failure in the infrastructure" around Manlleu, central Catalonia, where the expected time of arrival was 6.01pm, commuters had to leave the train and continue their journey by a coach arranged by Renfe.

The disrupted service ended in Ripoll, where the train was originally scheduled to arrive at 6.35pm.

In Ripollès county's capital passengers got on the train again for two stops until Ribes de Freser, where they claim the driver originally did not want to continue the journey.

Demand for commuter train service to be devolved

Successive Catalan governments have demanded the management of the train infrastructure and the service be transferred from the Spanish to Catalan administrations for many years – this has been a long-standing demand, especially from the 2000s, and it was only partly transferred in 2009.

Yet, the Spanish public company Adif is still in charge of the infrastructure, while Renfe, another Spanish government-owned company, manages the service. Since 2009, the Catalan administration is only in charge of the fares and schedules.

For years, Catalonia has also demanded more public investment in renovating stations, tracks, and infrastructure.