The 60 000 or so attendees at Mobile World Congress (MWC) starting in Barcelona today have heaved a collective sigh of relief as a planned metro strike is called off. But they are not entirely in the clear …
The metro workers from TMB have announced that they have reached agreement with the government and have voted overwhelmingly not to strike. The metro system will operate as normal during the GSMA Mobile World Congress, held from 27 February to 1 March 2012.
However, there has not yet been a resolution between the bus workers and the government, and therefore contingency plans announced earlier remain in place. Security has also been stepped up in case the ongoing bus strike results in “possible strike or demonstration activity””.
The contingency plan addresses several areas, including transportation, venue access, registration and security. MWC organisers GSMA have announced the following measures.
TRANSPORTATION Metro Service: Metro service will be running at full levels during the Mobile World Congress. Attendees should use the metro service as they have in prior years.
Municipal Bus Service: While negotiations with bus workers are still ongoing, we anticipate that Barcelona metropolitan bus service will not be running. In that event, attendees should not plan to use public bus transportation during the Mobile World Congress.
Taxi Service: Taxi service will be running at normal high levels as per previous Mobile World Congress events and attendees should use taxi service as they have in prior years.
Walking Routes: For those attendees who live or are in accommodations near the Fira, walking routes to the venue will be open. Staff will be stationed along the routes to the venue to direct attendees to the nearest entrance. Attendees should use walking routes as they have in prior years.
Private Transportation: Private transportation used by attendees to and from the Fira will operate as normal as it has in prior years.
GSMA Hotel Bus Service: The GSMA is providing a limited fleet of hotel shuttle buses to augment public transportation and to transport attendees to and from the Fira de Barcelona via 15 collection points around the city. Attendees will be able to access information on the shuttle bus routes and collection points from their hotels upon their arrival beginning on Saturday, 25th February.
REGISTRATION The GSMA strongly encourages attendees to register and pick up their badges on the weekend prior to Mobile World Congress if possible to minimise congestion during the event. Registration points at the Fira are open on Saturday, 25th February from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday, 26th February from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
“”FAST TRACK”” eligible attendees arriving at Barcelona International Airport El Prat Terminal 1 should follow signs after leaving the baggage hall for desks 801 to 899 to collect their badge. This new service is available if your Final Confirmation has “”FAST TRACK”” stated in the title and a barcode is visible. Opening times are Sunday, 26th February to Tuesday, 28th February from7:00 am to 7:00 pm and on Wednesday, 29th February from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you do not have “”FAST TRACK”” confirmation, please proceed to the Fira registration points as in prior years.
VENUE ACCESS The GSMA has more than doubled the capacity of attendee entrances to the Fira venue. Starting on Monday, 27th February at 7:00 am, entrances to the Fira will be fully staffed and open for attendee access to the Mobile World Congress. Staff will be present to direct attendees to the most appropriate entrances. It is suggested that attendees travelling to the Fira on Monday may want to consider departing earlier than in prior years in the event that travel times are increased due to traffic congestion.
SECURITY Due to the possible strike or demonstration activity, security will be extremely high throughout the city. Police will be out in force to keep the metro and street traffic running normally and to ensure attendees’ safety, particularly should demonstrations take place in Plaza Espanya or other parts of Barcelona. As always, attendees are encouraged to remain vigilant regarding their personal safety and take steps to protect themselves and their possessions.
The Barcelona government and police have assured the GSMA that Mobile World Congress will operate as usual and all participants will be able to arrive and depart the event safely and without disruption.
The GSMA will make further information available to attendees on Sunday, 26th February should the situation change dramatically, and we will keep attendees updated during Mobile World Congress to apprise them of any important information.