This is definitely one way for unions to get some attention for their cause: as of this time of writing, public transport employees in Barcelona will be striking during the Mobile World Congress trade show, due to take place between February 27 and March 1. That means no buses and no metros (subways) for an event that last year attracted more than 60,000 people to the city — many of whom did not walk or take cabs and limos across the sprawling Spanish metropolis to get around the event — not the easiest to navigate even in the best of times.
The organizer, the GSMA, is getting understandably worried that this news is going to hit the event hard: the idea of logistics chaos will end up keeping some people away, and those who do show up could end up leaving with a bad taste in their mouths for the future.
Today, the GSMA issued a statement confirming that it is working on this — although it is still woefully thin on details. The government authorities, it writes, are still negotiating to avoid the strike (as they have been for weeks now).
And the GSMA opened its kimono just a little bit to try to assure attendees that they won’t be overlooked: “comprehensive contingency plans are in place to ensure that all participants of the Mobile World Congress have unfettered access to and from the Fira during all days of the event.”
So what are those plans? We still have no idea.
The GSMA says it will only reveal the details “as necessary” should the strike go ahead.
That seems a little ironic. If the GSMA can be so specific as to detail a dress code for the event (comfy shoes! suits and ties for the men and jackets for the ladies), why can’t they tell those of us who are going what it is that they plan to do to sort this situation out? Do they really have a plan?
(We have contacted the GSMA to see if they can reveal a little more.)
By the way, GSMA, if it’s a bunch of private buses that you are laying on, I hope you’re remembering how bad the traffic already is in Barcelona, and will likely be worse as people take to cars when their metros shut down.
Barcelona bike rental companies: I’m all ears.
(Image: Barcelona bike lanes, Yoav Lerman, Flickr)