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Car Hire - Why have prices risen so much? There is a logical reason and it's not just the car hire firms being greedy.
Car hire prices this year have rocketed not just in Benidorm but throughout the rest of the world. Prices in most areas are now well in access of 40% more compared to pre pandemic prices. It would be easy to quickly blame the Car Hire companies for being greedy and trying to recuperate lost sales from the previous two summers. The truth is a little more complicated.
Pre Pandemic, car manufacturers used to have a great relationship with car hire companies - Car Hire companies created a demand for the latest models straight off the production lines and essentially provide prospective customers with test drives of the most recent models of various cars. Offering test drives has always been an important part of sales for any car manufacturer. Many customers enjoy the experience of driving a brand new hired car, and in turn then look for the same model when due to buy again. To be part of this obvious sales advantage, manufacturers were selling cars to hire firms at massive discounted prices. This discount was sufficient to enable the car hire firms to not only generate income from the hire of the car, but to actually make a profit (or at least a refund of the expenditure) from the re-sale of the car in post rental period.
The price of hiring a car therefore only needed to cover standard business expenses such as Staff wages, office costs etc. Remember the cost of maintenance would still mainly be covered under the warranty
This all changed with the Pandemic. The demand for car hire, collapsed with the tourist industry. No point hiring a car if there is a travel ban Instead most companies needed an injection of cash. This could only be achieved by reducing the size of their fleet and selling cars fast, in a market were the demand is not so high.
There was also a reduction in the demand for new cars coming off the production lines, not just from the hire companies, but from the public in general. This in turn has further knock on effects For example, Manufacturers of computer components essential to car production, turned their attention to making components for home computers were there was a higher demand with people working from home. This immediately slows down the production of new cars as the components become unavailable for long periods of time.
Car Hire Price Rises
The pandemic seems to be nearing an end, but now we have a new Crisis in Ukraine. Ukraine are one of the worlds biggest producers of car components. Those factory are not producing any products at the moment for obvious reasons.
The culmination of all of this is that any cars that are being produced at the moment, the manufacturers need to get the full price. No discounts for the hire companies and therefore no discounts for you as the hirer.
The hire companies now hire from a much smaller fleet of vehicles and need to attract the best prices possible for those vehicles. Increasing the fleet sizes is not an option as the car manufacturers cannot meet the demand. Some Car hire companies have already resorted to buying from the local dealers.
The situation is likely to improve again in the future as things slowly return to normal, but in the meantime it looks we have no choice but to accept that for your next holiday at least, the cost of hiring a car will be expensive
Our advice therefore is, if thinking of hiring a car it may be better to act fast as prices are more likely to rise than fall over the next few months. Select an option that allows a free cancellation should we be pleasantly surprised with unexpected reductions.
Looking for other travel information? Check out this section of the website
V-16 lights to replace emergency triangles - The DGT clarifies when the V-16 lights, which will replace the emergency triangles. After months of debate, from 1st July the V-16 lights will begin to replace the emergency triangles. This new signal is a device with an orange flashing light that must be placed on top of the vehicle to signal that you stopped on the road.
These V-16 lights will be able to be used instead of the triangles from July, but they will not become mandatory until 2026. From then, the only thing allowed to signal incidents will be these light signal that contain your geolocation.
The deputy deputy director of circulation of the DGT, Ana Blanco, already spoke about these a few months ago: "people become vulnerable" when they have to leave the vehicle to place the triangles, Jorge Ordás, deputy director general of Mobility Management and Technology of the DGT, also pointed to the high number of fatal accidents that occurred when drivers left their vehicles to place or pick up the triangles.
The new signage may be placed without leaving the vehicle. When we suffer a breakdown, it will be enough to lower the window and put the device on the roof, where it will be anchored with a magnetic anchor. In addition, the device will have a parabolic reflector with which the light will be visible within a radius of one kilometre, even in conditions of low visibility. You will not need cables as it works with battery and you can send a request for assistance when you have a connection with the drivers' mobiles.
The DGT has recalled that, in case of breakdown or accident, the new regulations dictate "as a general rule" that we will only leave the vehicle if there is a safe place outside the roadway, and always on the opposite side to the flow of traffic. If we are unable to exit safely, we will wait for assistance inside the vehicle with the seat belt on.
Changes to road traffic rules - The new traffic laws come into force on the 21st of March 2022. As of this date, drivers are subject to new regulations that they must be aware of, in order to avoid sanctions.
The 20 key points are listed below
Distractions: Handling a mobile while driving increases your penalty points two-fold, going from 3 to 6 points.
Seatbelts, helmets & CRS: Penalty points for not using these security systems or misusing them increases from 3 to 6 points.
Safety for cyclists: The penalty points are increased from 4 to 6 for overtaking them in a dangerous manner. Stopping or parking in cycle lanes is prohibited. It is now an obligation to occupy another lane when overtaking them.
Throwing objects on the road: If they can cause accidents or fires, the penalty points increases from 4 to 6 points.
Recover points on licences: Points will be regained after two years without committing offences.
Safe and efficient driving courses: 2 points can be recovered for taking safe and efficient driving courses.
Minors, alcohol and drugs: In all types of vehicles, the rate must be ZERO
Breathalyser tests for professional drivers: These may be carried out at the beginning of shifts and periodically / randomly throughout.
Anti-start breathalyser (Alcolock): Mandatory for passenger transport vehicles (July 6th, 2022).
Overtaking: Exceeding 20 km/h to overtake is removed.
Motorcyclists: The use of external wireless headsets for communication or navigation is authorized.
Restrictions in low emission zones. Breaching traffic restriction will be sanctioned with a 200 euros fine for the most polluting vehicles.
Cheating on driving tests. This action will be sanctioned with a 500 euro fine + 6 months without being able to test again.
Radar detectors and inhibitors: Their installation is sanctionable, even if they are not used.
Electric scooters: Helmets must be worn and they will be banned from traveling on the pavements.
Companies with drivers: They will be able to check if drivers have valid licences and points.
Failure to comply with regulations regarding public aid: These will be punishable with fines of 500 euros.
Sensitivity and awareness courses: Can be taught online.
Driving licences, logbooks and ITV - The DIGITAL certification will also be valid (miDGT app, etc.)
More information can be found on the DGT website
Changes to Road Traffic Rules
New speed Limits from 11th May - There are several changes in road safety that were approved at the end of last year at state level, those changes will take effect from May 11th.
Although not all the rules made by the DGT in November 2020 are not currently active, as is the case with the reduction of speed limits on urban roads. the new regulations for electric scooters came into effect at the beginning of January
The DGT remind us that from May 11th we will have new speed limits in place. These change that modified the General Regulation of Circulation through Royal Decree 970/2020, of November 10th, was published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on November 11th.
The DGT points out that this deadline is set to allow citizens to come to terms with the new regulations, and for municipalities to adapt road signage.
The RDL of November 10th states that the "generic" speed limits on urban roads will be:
20 km / h on roads with a single carriageway and sidewalk platform.
30 km / h on single lane roads in each direction of travel.
50 km / h on roads with two or more lanes per traffic direction
Take into account that the lanes reserved for the circulation of certain vehicles or users, such as those used exclusively for public transport, are not counted. For example, if a street has one lane but also has one for bus / taxi, the 30 km / h limit will be applied since it is considered that there is only one lane for that direction. In the same way, the new regulations allow these new generic speeds to be reduced by the City Councils if they consider it, although they must first install the signs indicating the different limit. The Municipal Authority may also increase the speed on roads with a single lane in each direction, up to a maximum speed of 50 km / h.
Fines - How to check online for fines
Research shows that, REDUCING THE SPEED IN A CITY FROM 50 KM / H TO 30 KM / H REDUCES THE RISK OF ACCIDENTS BY UP FIVE TIMES.
NEW SPEED CAMERAS IN BENIDORM
Be aware that Benidorm Council have already installed 9 new speed camera, round the town some of which are quite hidden.
These devices are placed on roads such as the Avenue of the Mediterranean, Beniardá, Alfonso Puchades and the roads of the Via Parque.
The council have sent a message to calm the public, assuring them that, for the time being, radars "will not be serving fines/sanctions for vehicles. People can rest easy, for now. With these radars we will be able to know how fast traffic circulates on average on each road, detect the most problematic points and be able to make decisions to slow traffic down in areas where the limits are un met. Later, if we see that people continue to exceed speed limits, you could start to get fined, but for now the answer is clear: no."
Above - Latest speed cameras in Benidorm
6th April - It seems even these are already causing concerns - Political mess over radars. Benidorm's PSOE has asked the PP's government team to suspend the commissioning of newly installed radars in different parts of the city. A measure that was raised by technicians on a Mobility Council where it received no criticism against it. For this reason, the Councilor of Mobility, José Ramón González de Zárate, accuses the opposition group of "demagoguery" and "having no word".
The boxes where those radars will go have started to be installed on Tuesday although they are not yet in operation. The Socialists have noted that "this is not the most appropriate time" to put in place sanctions-in-action measures, adding that "alternative formulas for speed control should besought." "Given the difficult situation that many of our neighbours are going through, we believe this is not the right time to implement this measure that can financially harm Benidorm families." They have also indicated that the installation of these radars can also affect tourists and visitors who come by vehicle to the city in the coming months.
Spanish Driving Rules Overtaking Cyclists - 27th January, Rules change for drivers overtaking cyclists. A ROAD Traffic Act reform means the way drivers are required to overtake cyclists has changed, with even more cautious measures set to come into force very soon.
The exact date on which the new rules will be effective has not yet been revealed, but motorists should act as though they are already in place as failing to do so once it becomes law could mean a €200 fine and three points deducted from your licence.
Here in Spain, driving licences start off with 12 points when 'clean', and points are deducted for motoring offences, with an automatic ban once all 12 have been used up – reinstating these normally requires paying for specified courses at official driving schools, as points-related offences are never 'spent' after a set time period.
Until now, drivers have been required to leave a margin of at least 1.5 metres (approximately five feet) when overtaking cyclists on roads, and are permitted to cross the central line, even if it is an unbroken white strip, to do so.
With the new rules the distance between car and bicycle when passing has increased to two metres (6'6”) and drivers must slow to at least 20 kilometres per hour below the speed limit. For example, on a road with a 50-kilometre limit, the driver must not overtake a bike-rider any faster than at 30 kilometres per hour, or on a main national highway where the limit is typically – but never higher than – 90 kilometres per hour, motorists should not go above 70 kilometres per hour when passing cyclist.
Crossing the central line and invading the opposite lane is permitted to enable the two-metre distance to be left. Drivers should not overtake cyclists at all where it would involve moving into the oncoming lane unless it is safe to do so, with no oncoming cars that may be forced to brake or have difficulty stopping in time.
Head of Spain's General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), Pere Navarro, announced these measures in a conference organised by Executive Forum involving motorway franchise companies Abertis Autopistas and Indra. It forms part of a raft of reforms to the Road Traffic Law which are expected to come into force in the next few months, which include the number of points deducted from licences rising from three for driving with a mobile phone in one's hand to six, and not wearing a seatbelt, helmet on a motorbike, or with children not in the correct booster seats, to four.
Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road-users, especially on fast-moving inter-provincial highways, and although motor vehicle crash death figures have generally been improving in the last few years, this is not the case with cyclists – last year, when fatality rates for all other types of road transport reduced, those of cyclists saw the smallest reduction, and in 2019, bicycle crash deaths actually increased.
A good alternative for those that don´t want to fly. Enjoy the sights, read a book, watch a film, listen to music. relax and enjoy the journey by train from Santander to Benidorm.
You are required to wear a mask in most transports when you travel.
Overland travellers to Spain and those transiting are not currently required to present a PCR test or Health Control Form on entry by road or rail.
Train from Santander to Benidorm
The Alvia train runs between Santander and Alicante passing through Madrid. The trains generally stop in Villena, Albacete, Cuenca, Segovia, Valladolid, Palencia, Aguilar de Campó, Reinosa and Torrelavega.
Distance 633 km
Average speed - 78.1 km/h
Average Ticket prices between 65.00 and 105€
What are Alvia trains?
Alvia is the name given to Renfe’s high-speed, long-distance trains connecting major cities in Spain. They can hit speeds of 250km/h - marginally slower than the 300km/h top-speed of AVE trains, but still very speedy!
The trains are built to run on both the high-speed rail lines and the slower, “classic” railway lines. During journeys, Alvia trains will switch between the two, this essentially means that Alvia trains can connect smaller, regional stations to the high-speed rail arteries that run between Spain’s big cities, resulting in reduced travel times for passengers.
Alvia trains come in three different models – Class 120, Class 130 and Class 730. The latter two types have distinctive, duck-billed train noses, so much so that they’ve been nicknamed patitos (ducklings) by local travellers.
Series 120 trains entered into operation in May 2006. Manufactured by CAF, 120s are comprised of 81 Preferente Class seats and 156 Turista seats, distributed across four coaches.
series 130 was manufactured by Talgo. With 63 Preferente seats and 236 Turista seats, they have 11 coaches - one of them a Cafeteria - and 2 power cars, so they can travel in both directions.
Alvia Series 730 (Hybrid) Also manufactured by Talgo, the Series 730 trains are an evolution of the Series 130. They run on a mixture of electric and diesel power, making them the most environmentally friendly Alvia model. They have 216 Turista seats, 46 Preferente seats and a Cafeteria carriage. They entered service in June 2012.
All trains offer:
- 2nd (Turista) and 1st (Preferente) class available
- air-condition, reclining seats that can be turned in direction of travel
- four seats per row in Turista, three seats per row in Preferente; all in open-plan configuration
- audio and video entertainment system
- equipped for passengers with reduced mobility
- power plugs on some services
Once in Alicante catch the tram to Benidorm (Alicante Metro Tram)
Catch Line 1, journey time approx 1h 8m, every 30 minutes.
How long does the train from Alicante Terminal to Santander Estación take?
The average journey time by train between Alicante Terminal and Santander Estación is 10 hours and 15 minutes, journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays. There are normally 2 trains per day.
What's the fastest journey time between Alicante Terminal and Santander Estación by train?
The fastest journey time by train from Alicante Terminal to Santander Estación is 8 hours and 35 minutes.
How much does the train from Alicante Terminal to Santander Estación cost?
Train tickets from Alicante Terminal to Santander Estación can start from as little as €40.85 when you book in advance and are usually more expensive when purchased on the day. Prices can also vary depending the time of day, route and class you book.
How to buy Alvia tickets
Tickets tend to go on sale 62 days in advance of the travel date.
Alvia Fares explained
Renfe offers three different fares for Alvia trains: Promo, Promo+ and Flexible.
Promo tickets are the cheapest fare. They work like advance tickets in the UK – you can save up to 70% on high-speed and long-distance trains. There are a limited number of Promo fares for any given train so they will often sell out for busy routes. These tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.
These are very similar to Promo tickets but slightly more expensive. Booking Promo+ tickets far enough in advance can earn you savings of up to 65%, and they come with more flexibility than the cheapest fare type. Should you not be able to make your train, a Promo+ ticket entitles you to a refund of 70% of the ticket value, up to 5 minutes before departure.
As the name suggests, Flexible tickets offer the most flexibility to amend or refund your booking. Tickets are refundable for 95% of the value up to 5 minutes before departure. However, these tickets are the most expensive of the three. Flexible tickets can come in handy if there’s a chance you might miss your scheduled train.
Alvia ticket prices
The price of Alvia tickets is determined by Renfe’s dynamic pricing system, which works in a similar way to airline tickets. Tickets are cheaper the further in advance you book them. This applies to Promo (the cheapest) and Promo+ (slightly more expensive, part-refundable) fares. The price of Flexible (the most expensive) fares is fixed – this ticket type allows you to change your booking to another train at no cost.
Be flexible with your travel times
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
When you buy your ticket, you will receive an email with the purchase confirmation, your trip details and an electronic ticket in PDF format. When travelling, you will only have to show the ticket on your mobile or tablet (but you can print it at home for extra peace of mind). Tickets are valid for 4 hours from the train departure and do not require validation.
Classes of Service
1st Class - Preferente.
First Class carriages are more spacious with wider seats. You’ll receive headphones, food, drinks and daily newspapers at no additional cost, as well as a free parking service at the station of origin (except Madrid Atocha) for 24 hours and access to Club Rooms at Renfe stations.
Seats have head rest, fold-down table, foot rest, individual adjustable light and power sockets.
2nd Class - Turista
Turista is the name for Standard Class on Alvia trains. The arrangement of the seats in all the carriages is 2 + 2, with a mixture of normal and table seats. There are usually more Turista seats on an Alvia train than Preferente seats.
Second Class options will provide a comfortable and saving option for you as well. Although it has a little bit less space in general when compared to 1st clas, it´s still a viable option when you want a saving option. You will find comfort in 2nd class specially when travelling in big groups.
Second Class brings you seats with head rest, a fold-down table, foot rest and an individual reading light for your maximum
The bar has a wide selection of meals and sweet snacks available to satisfy everybody's hunger. Eat at the bar or take them back to your seat. Great meals and tasty snacks waits for you on this trip.
Disabled facilities on the train from Santander to Benidorm
All trains are equipped for passengers with reduced mobility
Children under 4 years old travel free on an adult’s lap on board Alvia trains but must carry a Niño gratuito (“Free Child”) ticket. Just make sure you add them to your booking when you book. Children under 14 receive a 40% discount on a standard price ticket.
Renfe allows children between 6 and 13 years old to travel alone as long as they do it in Preferente class. This service can only be booked at the ticket offices of the stations.
Train from Santander to Benidorm
Dogs, cats, ferrets or birds weighing less than 10 kg can travel on board Alvia trains with a ticket as long as they do so in a carrier or cage that does not exceed dimensions of 60 x 35 x 35cm. Tickets cost 25% of the price of a Turista Class ticket. In Preferente, animals go for free.
If your pet weighs more than 10 kg, it cannot travel with you.
You can connect to the Renfe WiFi network through the PlayRenfe platform. There are two access options:
On Alvia trains, bicycles will be considered hand luggage if they are disassembled and stored in a case with dimensions that do not exceed 180cm when added together.
Those that exceed this measure will be considered “special luggage” and must be disassembled, with the pedals removed and the handlebar turned 90º, and stored in a case of the following maximum dimensions: 120 x 90 x 40 cm.
When you travel in Alvia you can take up to 3 suitcases with you. The sum of their weight must be less than 25 kg and the combined dimensions cannot exceed 290cm. Renfe considers baby carriages and instruments smaller than 30 x 120 x 38cm hand luggage.
Enjoy your journey by train from Santander to Benidorm and share your experience in comments below.
N.B. You are required to wear a mask in most transports when you travel.
Feel free to express you opinions or ask questions in the comments box below
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