The plan was simple, set up shuttle bus services between the railway station at Alicante and Benidorm and a similar service to Torrevieja. That way, summer visitors could take the high speed train from Madrid to Alicante and then hop on the bus to their destination. Opposition though forced the service to operate from Villena instead and delayed the start until August missing out on the early season travellers. There was also very little time to publicise the shuttle bus.
Just to put this madness into perspective; the distance from Villena to Benidorm is about 102kms, from Alicante it is only 46kms and from Villena to Torrevieja is 96.7kms as opposed to 51.5kms from Alicante. Almost double the distance – double the journey time.
Anyway that is the way it is to be so journalists turned up to welcome the first passengers on the service yesterday. As the 12:50 train pulled into the station at Villena they surrounded the ten passengers that got off the train. Apparently one of them was wearing an AC/DC T-shirt and thought he had been mistaken for a member of the band.
In the end, not one of the passengers boarded the 26 seater bus to Benidorm. It had to set off with just two representatives, one from RENFE and the other from ALSA (the company that operate the bus service).
Things were slightly better on the trip from Torrevieja where 6 people waited for the 9am bus to take them to Villena. The company said they expected more passengers for the afternoon bus.
The hope is that common sense prevails and the service can operate from Alicante in future.