Sunday, October 24

This is Matola station


The facility has two hundred parking spaces that, for the moment, are free.  |  ANTONIO AMORÓS

The facility has two hundred parking spaces that, for the moment, are free. | ANTONIO AMORÓS

One day after the visit of the authorities, including President Pedro Sánchez, to inaugurate the AVE that connects Elche with Madrid and the institutional speeches to extol the virtues of the new infrastructure, Matola station experienced its first day of normality yesterday, with its first four daily trains, two in the morning and two at night from Orihuela and Elche to the Spanish capital and in the opposite direction. Long awaited for the arrival of the high speed in the city of Elche, with political promises that have been continuously delaying its start-up, the Matola station has been generating debate, speculation and controversy for years, especially the one that accuses it of being a mere halt and not the station originally planned. An INFORMATION team yesterday approached the facility located at Camp d’Elx to learn its secrets.

The few daily trains, it is expected that when the health situation allows it, the frequency will double, makes activity in the station not very frantic. When you get to it, the first thing that strikes you is that more than three-quarters of its parking spaces remain empty. The car park has the capacity to accommodate 200 vehicles and, for the moment, it is free, although Adif is looking for a company to be in charge of the commercial exploitation of the parking area, for which different barriers and parking meters will have to be installed.

Image taken yesterday of the main entrance of the AVE station that connects Elche with Madrid since Monday, located in the district of Matola. | ANTONIO AMORÓS


One day after the visit of the authorities, including President Pedro Sánchez, to inaugurate the AVE that connects Elche with Madrid and the institutional speeches to extol the virtues of the new infrastructure, Matola station experienced its first day of normality yesterday, with its first four daily trains, two in the morning and two at night from Orihuela and Elche to the Spanish capital and in the opposite direction. Long awaited for the arrival of the high speed in the city of Elche, with political promises that have been continuously delaying its start-up, the Matola station has been generating debate, speculation and controversy for years, especially the one that accuses it of being a mere halt and not the station originally planned. An INFORMATION team yesterday approached the facility located at Camp d’Elx to learn its secrets.

The few daily trains, it is expected that when the health situation allows it, the frequency will double, causing the activity at the station to not be very frantic. When you get to it, the first thing that strikes you is that more than three-quarters of its parking spaces remain empty. The car park has the capacity to accommodate 200 vehicles and, for the moment, it is free, although Adif is looking for a company to be in charge of the commercial exploitation of the parking area, for which different barriers and parking meters will have to be installed.

Interior

What is most surprising when entering the Matola station building is its small size. On the left are a small office used by Adif staff as offices and the ticket booths, which have two stands at the counter and an automatic ticket machine for support. Ticket sales hours are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., so in the central part of the day, between 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., they remain closed. Passengers will find on the right hand side the access area to the platforms, where the scanners used to comply with the security protocols and a couple of information screens with the train schedules are located.

If the offices and lockers are to the left and access to the platforms to the right, those who arrive in Matola will find themselves facing the only toilet in the building and three commercial premises that, at the moment, have not found any signature that you have been interested in them. All this in a simple glance. Adif hopes that the typical station businesses will be set up in these places (restaurants, kiosks, some souvenir shops …) and while he finds customers he has decided to give the premises other uses. The one in the center remains with the blind raised so that anyone can contemplate its interior dimensions and in it a machine for the sale of soft drinks and chocolate bars and another for coffee has been installed. Two large promotional images have been placed in the other two locations, one with the Lady of Elche and an aerial view of Camp d’Elx and another that has been much commented on, since it is a montage in which you can see the Molí Real and the supposed AVE routes in the space that is occupied by the Vinalopó riverbed.

One of the great controversies that has been accompanying the start-up of the Matola station for some time is the lack of signage at its entrances that indicates how to get there. The facility is located far from the town center and the lack of signage plays against its interests. It is practically impossible to find a sign that indicates the way to the station when taking the deviation from the Crevillent road, because all the signs mark the direction of the districts of Matola and Algoda. All of this increases the widespread feeling in Elche that citizens are in front of a mere halt that is difficult to access.

Buses and taxis

Given the absence of connection between the station and the urban area, for now it can only be accessed by road. Apart from the taxi service, the City Council has enabled a bus service that connects the city with the AVE since Monday. This service is made up of fourteen stops that cover the Altabix neighborhood, the downtown area or Avenida de la Libertad and the rate is equivalent to the ordinary ticket, 1.35 euros. The morning bus starts at 6 am, the AVE leaves Elche at 6.40 am, and the night bus starts its journey at 8.15 pm, 45 minutes before the train to the Spanish capital does. .

Another of the doubts that there was was the price of the tickets. The daily offer is 1,264 seats and the price of the journey in economy class is 71.10 euros, although in these initial days different promotions have been launched with discounts ranging between 30 and 70%. These are the lights and shadows of the arrival of the AVE, in what was going to be a great station that for many is no more than a simple stop.


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