PORTUGUESE Trains (CP) has launched sales of a new €49 monthly National Rail Pass, which will offer passengers unlimited travel on regional rail services from August 1.

The Portuguese government made provision for the introduction of the new ticket in its 2023 budget. The pass is described by CP as a low-cost and ecological transport solution, and can be used at any time of day.

Travel on inter-regional and suburban services is not permitted using the ticket. Users are required to have a CP Client card.

CP carried 11.2 million passengers on its regional services in 2019, equivalent to 7.8% of its total passenger traffic of 144.8 million that year.

Local media have pointed out the limitations of the new ticket given the current CP regional timetable, pointing out that it will force passengers to make longer journeys on less obvious routes at potentially unattractive times.

The Portuguese programme mirrors the €49 Deutschlandticket, which since May 1 has offered unlimited travel on regional services across Germany for a month. More than 11 million of the passes had been sold up until mid-June according to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), with around 8% of purchasers having never used rail before.

According to a survey conducted by VDV, users cite the nationwide validity (41%) and low price (36%) as the main reason for purchasing the ticket. Of those surveyed, 18% said the reason for their purchase was that they deliberately avoided driving while 22% cited the need to protect the environment.