With the new system for issuing Compostelas there is now a sense of urgency and a race to arrive in Santiago.
Please allow me to clarify just a little. The “haste” is NOT to arrive at Santiago in fewer days.
Rather, the “haste” is to go to the office as early in the morning after opening. There is usually, but especially from Easter until 1 November, a queue of folks waiting for the doors to open, at 08:00 or 09:00, depending on the time of year.
The reason for this is simple. Under the “new” QR Ticket number system, they know how many pilgrims they can process all day. Thus, they only permit the ticket issuing kiosks to issue that maximum number. The kiosks are then turned off and later arrivals are told to return tomorrow.
Once you have one of these QR coded numbered ‘chits’ you can leave the premises to do other things. It is possible to check the progress towards your number remotely, using the internet. If they issued you a numbered ticket from a kiosk, you WILL be seen sometime that day.
Basically, you configure your smartphone to scan and search the internet for a scanned QR code. This brings up the “now serving” snapshot.
If you do this remote scan and if the variance between your number and the now being seen number is 40 or less, wrap up what you are doing and proceed directly to the pilgrim office.
However, if the variance in 20 or less, drop what you are doing and RUSH to the pilgrim office.
The queue can advance in jolts and spurts without warning. So be alert.
If you do not show up at the counter when your number is called, you LOSE YOUR PLACE. When this was first rolled out last August, they immediately had a problem with slackers who thought they could drop in later, at their convenience. So, office management adopted a no excuses policy.
With the ability to check the queue status remotely, or the option to hang out in the designated, air conditioned, with Wi-Fi and ample charging points, waiting area, there really is no excuse for not being there when your number is called.
So, the point about making haste is to plan enough end-time at Santiago to be there at least two early morning office opening cycles. This means a two-night stay at Santiago, and a no-nonsense plan to be in queue well before the posted opening time the first morning after your arrival.
The days of walking in off the Frances at 11:00, queuing to get your Compostela, making the noon Pilgrim Mass, then catching and afternoon bus, train or plane out of Santiago are GONE FOR GOOD. Get over it.
What works presently, and at least into the near future, is to arrive on Day 1. Attend a Pilgrim Mass, do the pilgrim arrival rituals. Have cold beer and some vino.
On Day 2, be on queue early the next morning to obtain as low a QR number ticket as possible. You need to consider that, on a really busy day, they might issue 1,000 or more QR tickets by 10:00 am, and decide to turn the kiosks off.
Consider that they need to reserve processing capacity for group pilgrim arrivals. These folks do NOT get individual QR number tickets.
Day 3 is needed in case you do not get on queue early enough on Day 2, and cannot get serviced that day. Forewarned is forearmed.
BTW, when I am next at the office, likely after my April-May 2020 Camino, I plan to discuss creation of a formal “solo sello” location (or locations), where pilgrims who only want official evidence of having reached the Cathedral and ended a Camino can obtain the stamps, immediately and FREE. An increasing number of pilgrims, having been through the process are now opting to only ask for the official sellos. Hope springs eternal.
Parenthetically, I will be returning to work as a volunteer for my sixth consecutive year in 2029. I was present when they were designing and testing this system last May. I was there the day they decided to turn it on...with NO BETA TEST.
I advised against using this system, unless it was coupled with advance data submission over the web, with QR code generation, identical to an airline boarding pass. That combined process would / could support a back room semi-automated custom printed Compostelas and Distance Certificates, for those who prefer this OPTION.
But, being a volunteer, in the end I just smile, say yes, and get on with what I am told to do.
I continue to believe this is needed to cope with the crush coming in 2021. BUT, I still advise that the current system should be retained for those who desire to wait for their certificates.
I hope this helps.