Application process for Torrevieja Smart Cards not so clever

TORREVIEJA’S SMART CARDS have been one of the main items of discussion in the city this week. The main consensus being that the cards may be smart, but those that devised the application scheme certainly are not.

The application scheme has changed on an almost daily basis, but as of Tuesday August 23, this is the most recent… Since the cards were first announced the hours that the office is open for applications has changed three times and they are now open from 8.15am until 8.15pm.

Secondly, apparently those who have managed to get on the Padron (municipal register) without actually having an NIE number can still apply, although it’s being questioned how people can be residents of Spain without having an NIE.

You no longer need to have your padron updated as they have the computer installed in the office now, just bring your old card or NIE information, residence paper and passport, with you.

More questions were raised as to why would the Town Hall start the scheme while tourists are in town, in the height of the tourist season, when the Town Hall are complaining that the tourists are the ones abusing the system.

Wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to wait until 300,000 tourists had returned home from their holidays, making it much more difficult to apply for the card in the first place?

First the disclaimer, in that by the time you read this, something else may have changed. However, as we go to press, for those legal citizens of Torrevieja, that are on the Padron and legally live in the city for at least six months of the year, this is how you should go about getting your smart card for free bus transportation in Torrevieja.

The Transport Officer of the Municipality of Torrevieja, Antonio Boix, expressed his satisfaction at the positive reception that the new Citizen Card has received in exchange for the old urban public transport. He said “In just a week since we began issuing cards, the Department of Transportation has already delivered more than 1,000.”

Antonio Boix wanted to pass on message to all citizens registered in Torrevieja, who “will be able to have your Citizen Card without any problems because the dispatch will continue indefinitely.”

Secondly, be aware that Transportation Cards previously issued shall cease to operate on September 16, 2011 and not September 1, as previously noted.

If you want a new or replacement card the first thing you should do is to jot down the account number below, go to the CAM Bank, pay €35 and put your receipt in a safe place to show at the Transportation office. Although there have been rumours of lines around the block and people queuing from 4am, for the most part, it’s just sensationalism.

A line starts to form at around 7amat the Old Town Hall, where the cards are issued, and you need to be in that line prior to 0800-hrs, when the doors open and numbers are distributed.

At 8.15pm, those with numbers are called into the offices, show their proof of residence, or old Transportation card along with handing over their CAM Bank Receipt for €35, have their picture taken and depart with a card that’s good for 12-months of free transport on Torrevieja’s bus network.

Location: Old City Hall – Department of Transport Offices

Hours: NEW! 0815 to 2015-hrs

Requirements: To be registered in Torrevieja and have no debts with the local administration.

Price: €35 (valid for one year). Senior Citizens do have to pay the €35 but if they qualify, they will receive a refund at the end of the year.

Required Documentation: DNI, NIE or Passport (original)

Proof of payment of €35 into the CAM account number 2090 7150 55 0200168516

This card is also valid for access to the CMO (City Centre Leisure or Macrodiscoteca), and will gradually be adding other services such as access to museums. It’s not necessary to renew your card before September 1. The application or renewal of the card can be done anytime.

There is not a minimum time requirement of being on the Padron, you just have to be registered at the time of requesting the card. However, if you register as resident in another town, the card will be cancelled when it detects that you’re not registered on Torrevieja Municipal Padron. That’s why it’s a smart card!

To get the card, it requires the physical presence of the applicant, due to the need to take a picture that identifies you, so you can’t apply for your partner, family or friends.

For those that thought they were being smart by paying online, the office isn’t that smart and you will still need to go to the CAM Bank and ask for an official receipt!
It’s also been reported that during Spanish lunch times and after 1900-hrs, it has been possible to walk in off the street and be seen straight away. The office does not close for lunch or siesta!

So there you have it. Pay your money, show up the next morning before 0800 for a ticket, show your documentation and your receipt and receive your new bus pass, or pay your money and take a chance at a later time of the day. Just remember, the new cards come into effect on September 16, so if you want free buss travel for 12-months in Torrevieja, you will need a new Smart Card.

By Keith Nicol

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