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No AVE Valencia-Cuenca!?! Alternatives?

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I am trying to find transportation for Valencia-Cuenca on October 14th (Wed) and am having a hard time. I have been monitoring the RENFE website for AVE schedules to be posted. So far, the one and only AVE train which does appear leaves at 8:15 AM (number 3982), which does not fit in our schedule. The one I was hoping to get is the one at 15:10 (number 5151). Curiously, it appears on the RENFE website along with a few other AVE daily departures up to September 30th, but not at all in October.

I was thinking that since there currently is only 1 posted AVE departure per day, the other ones are bound to appear sooner or later but this has not yet materialized and I now fear they may not ... I wonder if this could be due to planned service cutbacks. I find myself a little stumped and am hoping that someone may shed some light on this.

In the meanwhile, I have started to look at possible alternatives, but things look pretty bleak:

1- Regional trains: there is one that leaves at 15:14 with a train change (transbordo) for a journey of 3 hours 50 min (!) arriving after 7 PM. Presumably I would get tickets in person at the station a few days ahead? (not available for on-line purchase) Not exactly great.

2- Bus: I am not having much luck, the one company that I do know which had service to Cuenca (ALSINA) no longer appears to have it. I cannot seem to find others that do, maybe I am looking in the wrong places ...

3- Renting a car: This would be for a pickup in Valencia and drop off in Cuenca a few hours later, but I would consider this option a last resort.

Therefore I thought of turning once more to this valuable forum. Any help or suggestions with this dilemna would be highly appreciated.

Regards

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