Buenos Dias from España! I´ve been in Madrid for about 2 weeks now, and my God I have learned A LOT about getting around the city. Mostly due to the fact that my Airbnb was not centrally located, so it took a lot of transfers and coordination for me to get to other parts of town. Luckily, tarifas/billetes (fares/tickets) are pretty cheap (about €1,50), but they can still add up quickly if you´re traveling enough. That´s why its important to get the abono as soon as possible. Here are the 2 ways you can get yours!
SOLICITUD ONLINE (ONLINE APPLICATION)
Start here and click “Quiero obtener una Tarjeta Transporte Público”. You will then have to select your age range. If you’re 25 or younger, you qualify for the Abono Joven which gives you full access to all of Madrid’s transit for only €20 per month! I’m sure the children’s abono (ages 4-6) comes at a discounted rate, as well. Those over the age of 26 pay the full price according to the zonas below.
After you select your age, you will enter your passport or NIE number and select “Inciar solicitud on-line”
They will ask for personal information (name, email, local address, etc.), uploaded documentation (Spanish passport sized photos which can be taken in photobooths located in most Metro stops, photocopy of passport, etc.), a card number for payment (€4 for the card and €20 for the first month, €24 total). And then you’re done! Just remember, the address you put on the application will be where your abono is mailed 10-15 days after submission. If you use your school/hostel/Airbnb, be sure they know to look out for your package.
CITA PREVIA (IN-PERSON/APPOINTMENT)
The same prices and required documents apply for this method, but it is technically much faster as your card is printed and handed to you the same day of your appointment. There are 3 ways to get one.
#1 – Follow the same steps as the online applicaton above, but after entering your passport number select “Pedir Cita Previa” instead of “Solicitud On-line”. You will be able to search for openings by office/location or by date. This process is pretty annoying around mid-late September because most offices will be completely slammed with all the new students and English teachers, so you will have to plug in new dates and random stations several times until you find an opening.
#2 – Call 012 (from a Spanish number) and speak with an operator to schedule the next availble appointment at the office of your choice. They will go through all the hassle of searching for you, so it requires less effort on your end. The only catch is that they don’t speak English. At least, not as far as I know.
#3 – Skip the scheduling and just show up to an office. Some locations are able to get you in on the spot without an appointment. My friends and I showed up with just our physical passports and payment and got ours. But for the record, this is far more likely to happen at one of the less popular locations (e.g. at “Estanco de Metro Sol” I was turned away for not having an appointment, but at “Estanco en Paseo de Delicias, 150” it was no problem. My friends got their’s at “Atocha Renfe”.)
Now you’re ready to commute like a true Madrileñ@!