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Taking a number in Santiago.

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
I read on a Facebook site that you now have to take a number to get your Compostela at the Pilgrims Office. Have I missed something recently ?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

You can use your smartphone to check the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number from anywhere you have internet access. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones have the built in capability to scan a barcode and bring up the encrypted website.

In this case, that is the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number. If your number is 50 or less from the currently being served number, finish whatever you are doing and proceed to the pilgrim office, without delay.

If your number is 30 or less from the number being served, RUSH to the office. The number being served can accelerate at times. If you miss your place, when called, you could be compelled to return to the kiosk to take another number.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Way Norway(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF(2019)
Israel (2020)
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

You can use your smartphone to check the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number from anywhere you have internet access. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones have the built in capability to scan a barcode and bring up the encrypted website.

In this case, that is the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number. If your number is 50 or less from the currently being served number, finish whatever you are doing and proceed to the pilgrim office, without delay.

If your number is 30 or less from the number being served, RUSH to the office. The number being served can accelerate at times. If you miss your place, when called, you could be compelled to return to the kiosk to take another number.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
Wow...high-tech has now come to the Camino as well! There is no escape... 😄
I haven't 'checked in' at SdC since 2015...by the time I do again (probably 2021), I won't know the place!
👣 🌏
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Well, this new system might even tempt me back to the pilgrims office for another compostela, "Vicarie Pro" for those who are too sick or injured to walk, as a little gift when I return home.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
Sounds like an awesome setup!
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

You can use your smartphone to check the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number from anywhere you have internet access. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones have the built in capability to scan a barcode and bring up the encrypted website.

In this case, that is the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number. If your number is 50 or less from the currently being served number, finish whatever you are doing and proceed to the pilgrim office, without delay.

If your number is 30 or less from the number being served, RUSH to the office. The number being served can accelerate at times. If you miss your place, when called, you could be compelled to return to the kiosk to take another number.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
Great system! Thanks for the details.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
The BIG takeaway is DO NOT DAWDLE OR DELAY in going to the pilgrims office and obtaining your queue number from the kiosk!

When you first see the difference between your number and the number now being seen, you can make an informed decision about leaving the Pilgrim Office to check in at your accommodations, get cleaned up, have lunch, etc.

Use the QR scanning capability built-in to your smartphone to check the status of the queue over the internet. You can do this literally from anywhere.

If your queue number is 50 or less from the number being processed, wrap up what you are doing quickly and return to the office.

By the time the difference between your number and the number being processed is 30 or less, YOU MUST BE WAITING in the hallway, where you can see “Señor Bong.” This is the HDTV hanging over the entry to the processing area that announces the next number to be seen, as well as what desk / counter position to go to.

If you miss your counter call, you are screwed. Because so many pilgrims failed to pay attention then showed up well out of sequence, management adopted a policy of canceling your place in the queue.

This compels you to obtain a new, higher number, and restart the process. DON’T BE A NO SHOW!

Finally, security have been told to turn off the number issuing kiosks when they have issued enough tickets, such that there are enough pilgrims pending / waiting somewhere to keep the available staff busy through office closing. Given arrival patterns and staff availability, this cutoff could occur at any time in late afternoon or early evening. This all depends on supply and demand.

The purpose of this is to ensure that, if you have a number from the kiosk, you will be processed... unless you were a “no show” earlier, when your number was called to the jointer, but you did not reply immediately.

If you do get caught out on arrival, your ONLY option is to return in time for the office opening the next morning. Tickets for the next day are NEVER issued in advance.

Please bear in mind that this new process is among many to come to get ready for the 2021 Holy Year. Be flexible and patient.

Hope this helps.
 
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IngridF

Intrepid Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017, 2019
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

You can use your smartphone to check the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number from anywhere you have internet access. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones have the built in capability to scan a barcode and bring up the encrypted website.

In this case, that is the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number. If your number is 50 or less from the currently being served number, finish whatever you are doing and proceed to the pilgrim office, without delay.

If your number is 30 or less from the number being served, RUSH to the office. The number being served can accelerate at times. If you miss your place, when called, you could be compelled to return to the kiosk to take another number.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
Hmm so what IF you walk without a phone or old smartphone that is not so smart cause it doesn't read a QR bar code.
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

You can use your smartphone to check the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number from anywhere you have internet access. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones have the built in capability to scan a barcode and bring up the encrypted website.

In this case, that is the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number. If your number is 50 or less from the currently being served number, finish whatever you are doing and proceed to the pilgrim office, without delay.

If your number is 30 or less from the number being served, RUSH to the office. The number being served can accelerate at times. If you miss your place, when called, you could be compelled to return to the kiosk to take another number.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
If you are not able to check your QR code remotely, your choice is to remain in the new waiting room, until your number is within 30 of the number being served. This room is located on the ground floor (Piso -1) of the big rectangular building down the terrace stairs, and to the left.

There are signs to direct you. This is also where the main queue, ticket kiosks are located.

This very large room is air conditioned, has chairs, beverage and snack vending machines, and large screen monitors displaying the current queue status. There are ample bathrooms. There are also multiple charging points for your phones. There was even a rumor of coming free Wi-Fi... Personally, I think offering free Wi-Fi is a colossally bad idea... but I am a volunteer...

Hope this helps.
 
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Ninalin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis
The queue moves about 100 numbers per hour. We checked in our hotel next to cathedral and relaxed for a couple hrs. When we walked over, we waited in line for 10min, about 15 numbers ahead of ours. There were about 16 servicing counters. Just watch for your number and which counter to go.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
Thanks for the answers. It must have started after I was there at the end of June. Good idea.
 

CyndyC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2019
I read on a Facebook site that you now have to take a number to get your Compostela at the Pilgrims Office. Have I missed something recently ?
Hi.. We finished the Camino September 9 th. Went to get our certificates before Mass. We were number 550. At the time they are on number like 244, we were told to come back in 3 hours and they told us about the qr codes and the site so that we could see their progress. It worked great. When we came back 3 hours later, they were issuing numbers in the 1100s. So suggestion, go to get your number before mass. I must say that we were rather disappointed in that when the mass was over, there was no celebration. Or people saying Buen Camino or something! I guess I expected a celebratory acknowledgement of what every one there had just accomplished. Here we were all together after doing what may have been one of the most challenging events of our lives.. Together.. And it was a coming together of the participants, and well in my opinion, it was a missed opportunity to celebrate together. Nothing was said. Everyone just out of church and that was it. I recognize that it's a personal accomplishment. Any how, I didn't need the joint celebration to make my Camino. It's mine and it's in my heart (and feet and knees). But it would have added something lovely and cummunal in my opinion
I read on a Facebook site that you now have to take a number to get your Compostela at the Pilgrims Office. Have I missed something recently ?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I must say that we were rather disappointed in that when the mass was over, there was no celebration. Or people saying Buen Camino or something! I guess I expected a celebratory acknowledgement of what every one there had just accomplished. Here we were all together after doing what may have been one of the most challenging events of our lives.. Together.. And it was a coming together of the participants, and well in my opinion, it was a missed opportunity to celebrate together. Nothing was said. Everyone just out of church and that was it.
I have not been to a pilgrim mass this year while they are being held in another church during the repair work in the cathedral itself. Is it no longer the custom for the officiating priest to acknowledge and welcome the newly arrived pilgrims and for them to share a sign of peace together during the mass with the rest of the congregation? It has always been my understanding that participation in the pilgrim mass in the city of the Apostle is the traditional "celebration" of the end of a Camino. Anything else you choose to add is up to you.
 

Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
I must say that we were rather disappointed in that when the mass was over, there was no celebration. Or people saying Buen Camino or something! I guess I expected a celebratory acknowledgement of what every one there had just accomplished. Here we were all together after doing what may have been one of the most challenging events of our lives.. Together.. And it was a coming together of the participants, and well in my opinion, it was a missed opportunity to celebrate together.
I have not walked the camino yet, but I think attending the mass in itself and getting the compostela are the main acknowledgement of what you've just accomplished, apart from your personal accomplishment of course.

Buen Camino is something you can compare with Bon Appetite. You say it before dinner or when a new course is served, not when you have finished eating. Buen Camino literally translated means (have a) good way/path/walk, so I would not expect to hear it when I completed it already.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
The kiosk and adjacent big screen HDTVs use the same 8 languages as "Señor Bong" (the sign over the entry door to the counter area). Those languages include, perhaps in a different order:

Gallego
Catalan
Euskerra (Basque)
Castellano
English
Portuguese
Italian
German

Before I left in mid-August, I Googled, and developed the instructions for setting up your Android or Apple smartphone to scan a QR code and bring up the queue status using the internet from anywhere. Staff had developed the capability on the system and showed it proudly to me. But, they had not developed the instructions to pilgrims on how to set their smartphones up. I did that necessary, last part.

Briefly, Android phones running the Android OS, version 9.x or higher, and iOS phones using version 12.x or higher have the built-in capability to scan a QR code and bring up the corresponding web page. In Android, the needed settings to change are in your camera settings.

On iOS phones it is in /Settings/Camera and in /Settings/Control Center/Customize Controls. You must change setting in these two places on an iPhone. Then, turn your iPhone off completely then turn it back on. When it restarts, you will have the capability on your shortcuts screen... where the flashlight app is.

Of course, you must have a data plan active on your phone, or be someplace with free Wi-Fi for this to work.

Lastly, having given them the specific instructions for smartphone set-up in English, I invited staff and management them to have them translated into the 8 languages above, and to post signage near the ticket issuing kiosks. I hope this has been done.

Finally, I also asked staff and management to seek out South Korean students who might be at the University of Santiago de Compostela to attempt to get signage and other material throughout the Pilgrim Office translated into Korean. I even contacted a priest involved in the Cathedral administration to seek their intervention to find such people perhaps in one of the seminaries.

When I made these contacts, I noted that the Galicia Tourist Office, located across the courtyard at the Pilgrim Office Campus, had two Korean college students working there. So, logically, there are at least two Korean students in town. We shall see what evolves...

Hope this all helps.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Hmm so what IF you walk without a phone or old smartphone that is not so smart cause it doesn't read a QR bar code.
Android phones running the Android OS, version 9.x or higher, and iOS phones using version 12.x or higher have the built-in capability to scan a QR code and bring up the corresponding web page.
It sounds like those of us with older phones or old phones are out of the loop. A pity the PO doesn't have an automated phone line with a running message announcing the current number. There must be some way to link that to Señor Bong? (Though I can't imagine how...maybe the PO should enlist the help of some of those Korean techies - the ones I've met on the camio have been very tech-savvy and smart as whips...)

Is it no longer the custom for the officiating priest to acknowledge and welcome the newly arrived pilgrims and for them to share a sign of peace together during the mass with the rest of the congregation?
Of couse it is. Not to mention many other possibilities for connecting and celebrating at the Welcome office, the English mass, Pilgrim House and Egeria House...

Edit...Haha, but @Alan Pearce , it's a TV.
That's better than calling it Shirley, right? ;)
 

Houlet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
Sounds like an excellent innovation. I hate queues so it suits me perfectly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Hi.. We finished the Camino September 9 th. Went to get our certificates before Mass. We were number 550. At the time they are on number like 244, we were told to come back in 3 hours and they told us about the qr codes and the site so that we could see their progress. It worked great. When we came back 3 hours later, they were issuing numbers in the 1100s. So suggestion, go to get your number before mass. I must say that we were rather disappointed in that when the mass was over, there was no celebration. Or people saying Buen Camino or something! I guess I expected a celebratory acknowledgement of what every one there had just accomplished. Here we were all together after doing what may have been one of the most challenging events of our lives.. Together.. And it was a coming together of the participants, and well in my opinion, it was a missed opportunity to celebrate together. Nothing was said. Everyone just out of church and that was it. I recognize that it's a personal accomplishment. Any how, I didn't need the joint celebration to make my Camino. It's mine and it's in my heart (and feet and knees). But it would have added something lovely and cummunal in my opinion
Cindy, I think one of the hardest things for many of us to let go of when we are walking on the Camino is our expectations: what we think should happen, or how an albergue or meal should be or what the landscape should look like and on and on. It is often a challenge to just marvel and accept what is, even rain, mud and rocks. As you said, your celebration is in your heart, feet and knees, exactly where it should be!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Thanks for the answers. It must have started after I was there at the end of June. Good idea.
They turned it on the first Friday in August, after we got past the Feast of Santiago.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Who on Earth named it "Senor Bong"? Cringe-worthy!

Be Brave. Life is joyous.

Alan
That was my idea totally. I coined the name after the sound the display device over the door makes to signal the next pilgrim to enter. The sound is most nearly "BONG." Hence the name...
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It sounds like those of us with older phones or old phones are out of the loop. A pity the PO doesn't have an automated phone line with a running message announcing the current number. There must be some way to link that to Señor Bong? (Though I can't imagine how...maybe the PO should enlist the help of some of those Korean techies - the ones I've met on the camio have been very tech-savvy and smart as whips...)

Of couse it is. Not to mention many other possibilities for connecting and celebrating at the Welcome office, the English mass, Pilgrim House and Egeria House...

Edit...Haha, but @Alan Pearce , it's a TV.
That's better than calling it Shirley, right? ;)
Come ON folks, this is Spain, not Germany, the UK, or the US. Things happen at a glacial pace. Plus, too much complexity causes more errors. We need a system that is rock solid reliable. As it is, this new system is VERY buggy. It is a step in the right direction, but a baby step.

That said, I can recommend they add a voice tree to a phone number that tells you to press your language choice, then simply reads the current number being served. That is all you need.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
That said, I can recommend they add a voice tree to a phone number that tells you to press your language choice, then simply reads the current number being served. That is all you need
Can't help thinking that the solution you proposed a few days ago of replacing the Compostela with a simple completion stamp in the credencial would be much simpler, cheaper and far more effective in reducing waiting times.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It would. But the current crop of clerics in charge would NEVER countenance it. They favor tradition over almost all else.

My basic process change would be to have the Pilgrim Office merely provide evidence of completion on your credencial using two different stamps / sellos as they do now.

One sello is on the last page of your sellos, to signify you arrived at the Cathedral. The second stamp is on the inside cover of your credencial to close out that credencial and make it unusable for future use, to obtain a Compostela.

I would include a passport-sized preprinted, mini version of the Compostela or Welcome Certificate, sands personalization, inserting it to each credencial after affixing the two sellos. A single staple is optional at the pilgrim's choice.

To obtain anything more beyond this, you would have to present the stamped credencial and the card insert to a commercial vendor, licensed by the Cathedral.

The total counter time for this should be about 1-2 minutes including greetings and pleasantries. This is DOWN from the current 6 - 10 minutes per pilgrim.

I would then outsource production of all Compostelas and other Certificates to a commercial vendor in town, taking a percentage of the cost charged for the license arrangement. Let the market determine the appropriate fee.

The vendor could only obtain the source documents form the Pilgrim Office in bulk. A clever businessperson could establish a couple of service points around town to produce and sell these authorized documents. Pilgrims win, the local economy wins, and the Church wins...

But, as I said at the outset, this will not happen for years to come. Maybe for the NEXT Holy Year, after they see the disaster to come in 2021. I continue to have a bad feeling about this.

Yup, like herding cats...
 

frjuliangreen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (2018)
Camino Portugués (2019)
Vía de la Plata/Camino Sanabrés (2020)
I read on a Facebook site that you now have to take a number to get your Compostela at the Pilgrims Office. Have I missed something recently ?
That is the case. If, however, you arrive in a group, you can get a sheet from the security guy on the door, and fill it in with all the details of your group, and hand in your sheet with completed credenciales. They give you a time to come back. On return just go directly to the office on the right just inside the door and you can pick up all your compostelas already completed and the credenciales stamped. Simple. Saved a lot of time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
It sounds like those of us with older phones or old phones are out of the loop. A pity the PO doesn't have an automated phone line with a running message announcing the current number. There must be some way to link that to Señor Bong?
Only partly kidding here. Senor Bong could be put on a public access TV channel and broadcast thoughout the town. Watch in store fronts everywhere.
The vendor could only obtain the source documents form the Pilgrim Office in bulk. A clever businessperson could establish a couple of service points around town to produce and sell these authorized documents. Pilgrims win, the local economy wins, and the Church wins...
And the vendor makes plenty selling decorated mailing tubes to protect the compostela.

Thanks for spending so much time straightening us out on this @t2andreo and trying to do the same with the higher ups.
Generalizations are usually unfair.
o_O Now I'm confused. Is this one that is fair or not? ;)
 

harmsdg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
And you should buy a tube to protect your compostella in the luggage. The shops or post office sells for $1euro
Or if you'd like pay a bit more, the cashier can sell you a tube when you pay for your distance certificate.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
I would have thought that having a credential, or several, chock full of stamps and dates, is proof enough of having completed the pilgrim journey.
The certificate is like an add-on really. Yes, I have one, but it stays rolled up in its tube. The queue to get one was a great opportunity to meet and talk to other pilgrims, only that it was a bit tiring and uncomfortable for many, especially if you still had your rucksack to carry and/or was one of the walking wounded on arrival. So anything that makes the process more convenient and comfortable will be appreciated by many of us.
It's interesting that having forsaken many comforts and conveniences while walking the Camino, suddenly on completion there can be a desire to quickly get back to 'service as usual' - almost to the point of demanding these type of improvements.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
That said, I can recommend they add a voice tree to a phone number that tells you to press your language choice, then simply reads the current number being served. That is all you need.
Exactly. That would be perfect.
Not everyone has or is comfortable with technology.

Can't help thinking that the solution you proposed a few days ago of replacing the Compostela with a simple completion stamp in the credencial would be much simpler, cheaper and far more effective in reducing waiting times.
Of course it would be. And lots of us would be satisfied with that. But many people want that piece of paper.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
A clever businessperson could establish a couple of service points around town to produce and sell these authorized documents.
I have to say (sorry, @t2andreo) that this whole idea makes my skin crawl. I'm with the conservative clergy on this one, and would hate to see the issuing of compostelas turned into an efficient process-oriented commercial venture.
Just...please, NO.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
o_O Now I'm confused. Is this one that is fair or not? ;)
I know this is a hypothetical fun question but since no one ever reacts to the comment in question, I am with @Pelegrin on this one: once is enough. In fact, the opinion expressed reminded me of typical expat opinions I've heard way too many times in different contexts: if it doesn't work like at home and the way I'm used to or the way I'd like it to be then it's inferior. It isn't.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
I know this is a hypothetical fun question but since no one ever reacts to the comment in question, I am with @Pelegrin on this one: once is enough. In fact, the opinion expressed reminded me of typical expat opinions I've heard way too many times in different contexts: if it doesn't work like at home and the way I'm used to or the way I'd like it to be then it's inferior. It isn't.
Thank you very much @Kathar1na (again).
I didn' t react because the generalization "This is because is Spain" is obviously unfair for the Basque country or the Canary islands that have nothing to do with an issue Church/Xunta de Galicia.
In relation to the US, I wonder if the Camino finished in Helena (Montana) this state would manage better issuing such a volumen of documents for free to people from everywhere. Same in case of Shwerin (Meklenburg, Germany) or in Cardiff (Wales, UK).
As a good Galician, I never like being so direct on my posts, but I had already sent two posts in previous threads where I mentioned, in an indirect way, that I disagreed with the sentence "This is because is Spain".
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Thank you very much @Kathar1na (again).
I didn' t react because the generalization "This is because is Spain" is obviously unfair for the Basque country or the Canary islands that have nothing to do with an issue Church/Xunta de Galicia.
In relation to the US, I wonder if the Camino finished in Helena (Montana) this state would manage better issuing such a volumen of documents for free to people from everywhere. Same in case of Shwerin (Meklenburg, Germany) or in Cardiff (Wales, UK).
As a good Galician, I never like being so direct on my posts, but I had already sent two posts in previous threads where I mentioned, in an indirect way, that I disagreed with the sentence "This is because is Spain".
As a good manners practice it's perfectly acceptable for Spanish to criticize eachother and their country, but if foreigners do this they can expect all Spanish to unite against them. However, this is of course a generalization, in certain circumstances the opposite might be true......
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
You don't need to repeat this. Generalizations are usually unfair.
It was NOT meant in a pejorative sense, or as a generalization. I love Spain and all the quirks of this society. Truth be, I would rather be living there than here. But I have responsibilities...

One of these unique and actually laudable attitudes is a near universal avoidance of stress producing artificial deadlines and worry in general. The Spanish people usually take a more relaxed attitude to things that would irk, annoy and cause anxiety or stress among other national groups. The problem, as such, is US not THEM.

All, I was trying to instill was patience and an understanding that bureaucratic things generally move slower in Spain than in some other countries. That's it. No slight or insult was intended... I frequently wish that I could adjust my basic nature (OCD-influenced) to be more like my friends at the Pilgrim Office.

At the end of the day, I may accomplish more, but whatever they accomplish, they usually accomplish better. I am the proverbial hare. They are the tortoise. But we all finish...

Hope this helps clarify.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I have to say (sorry, @t2andreo) that this whole idea makes my skin crawl. I'm with the conservative clergy on this one, and would hate to see the issuing of compostelas turned into an efficient process-oriented commercial venture.
Just...please, NO.
I was thinking out loud. I suspect many others out there feel similar. But, we should all just take a deep breath and realize it is never going to happen...at least anytime soon.

About the best I can do is try to help to nudge them towards process changes that make the current process more efficient. THEY came up with the take a number at the kiosk thing. In May 2019, when I worked for two weeks (in lieu of my Spring Camino) I begged for the remote status check capability. Together, they seemed to have cobbled something effective together.

I do not deserve or want any credit. They did it all. At best, I merely pointed out some 'low hanging fruit,' things that would create a big improvement at minimal investment. THIS TIME, we all got lucky. The synergy worked...

I continued to leave notes with additional suggestions... We shall see what next summer brings.
 

Mycroft

Member
No. The new system requires you to use a kiosk to take a numbered ticket. The ticket has a QR barcode on it. You can leave the building and go anywhere, to do anything while your number approaches.

You can use your smartphone to check the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number from anywhere you have internet access. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones have the built in capability to scan a barcode and bring up the encrypted website.

In this case, that is the current status of the queue, via-a-vis your number. If your number is 50 or less from the currently being served number, finish whatever you are doing and proceed to the pilgrim office, without delay.

If your number is 30 or less from the number being served, RUSH to the office. The number being served can accelerate at times. If you miss your place, when called, you could be compelled to return to the kiosk to take another number.

So, while the new system does allow waiting pilgrims to use that queue time to do other things, outside the office, it also imposes the requirement to be there when your number is called. Please cooperate.

Hope this helps.
Some of us don’t have smartphone—I don’t have any phone at all. I suppose I simply hang out there with my book.
 

Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
But even without a phone and the possibility to check numbers remotely, you still have some idea of how long things are gonna take. If the estimated waiting time is 4 or 5 hours, at least you know you can go and grab a coffee or lunch somewhere. Come back, check the number and decide to stay or leave again and do some shopping or whatever you want. It's still much better than a line you have to stand in for hours.
And if you don't want to loose sight of the numbers, just stay around and wait at the office. Then for you things will just be like before: you go to the office and wait for your turn.
 

Jentho30

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"August/September 2015
I read on a Facebook site that you now have to take a number to get your Compostela at the Pilgrims Office. Have I missed something recently ?
We arrived too late for a ticket - does anyone know what time people start queuing in the morning? Thanks in advance
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Any certificate issued by a commercial vender just contributes to the commercialisation of the camino. I'd vote in favour of outsourcing the distance certificate, and re-instituting the interview with a priest for the Compostela instead.

We arrived too late for a ticket - does anyone know what time people start queuing in the morning? Thanks in advance
I would get there at least an hour before the office opens.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
We arrived too late for a ticket - does anyone know what time people start queuing in the morning? Thanks in advance
A girl I know went to the office at 7:00 am this morning. There were already 50 ahead of her in line - the office opens at 8am. She had her Compostela by about 8:30
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Yes. I take many “after” photos each day when I am there. I even supply guaranteed laughs by using one of my Red Nose Day clown noses.

I do not care if people are laughing at me. My goal is to have them obtain a happy photo to commemorate a happy day.

The four most used backgrounds, in my experience, are:

1. In the upper courtyard, with the water fountain as a backdrop,
2. On the upper terrace, to the Southwest, with the palm trees framing the shot,
3. Just outside the exit from the office process, slightly to the left of the door. The sun is usually good there, and
4. Outside the office, on Rua das Carretas, in front of the wall shrine to Nuestros Señora de los Remedios, (Our Lady of the Cures). This is where the official office sign is too. Together, they make a good photo backdrop.

Hope this helps
 

Islandgal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September 2019)
Hi.. We finished the Camino September 9 th. Went to get our certificates before Mass. We were number 550. At the time they are on number like 244, we were told to come back in 3 hours and they told us about the qr codes and the site so that we could see their progress. It worked great. When we came back 3 hours later, they were issuing numbers in the 1100s. So suggestion, go to get your number before mass. I must say that we were rather disappointed in that when the mass was over, there was no celebration. Or people saying Buen Camino or something! I guess I expected a celebratory acknowledgement of what every one there had just accomplished. Here we were all together after doing what may have been one of the most challenging events of our lives.. Together.. And it was a coming together of the participants, and well in my opinion, it was a missed opportunity to celebrate together. Nothing was said. Everyone just out of church and that was it. I recognize that it's a personal accomplishment. Any how, I didn't need the joint celebration to make my Camino. It's mine and it's in my heart (and feet and knees). But it would have added something lovely and cummunal in my opinion
Daily at 1:30, upstairs in the Pilgrim building, there is a gathering for people to talk about their Walk.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Daily at 1:30, upstairs in the Pilgrim building, there is a gathering for people to talk about their Walk.
And near San Martin Pinario there is the Anglican outreach.
And Pilgrim House.
And several other places.
There's no shortage of opportunities in Santiago to reflect and share and celebrate. And since no pilgrim is a really stranger, that can happen over a cafe table, too, if you're open to it.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Any certificate issued by a commercial vender just contributes to the commercialisation of the camino. I'd vote in favour of outsourcing the distance certificate, and re-instituting the interview with a priest for the Compostela instead.
I also share your aversion to the commercialisation element. My own first Camino both started and finished with a personal interview concerning my motivations as a pilgrim and my experience. In SJPDP I was refused a credencial by the woman who issued them because I did not meet her standards of what a worthy pilgrim should be (and also because I had annoyed her by disturbing her at lunchtime :cool:). I received one in Roncesvalles instead. In Santiago I spent about 20 minutes in quite deep theological conversation with a priest in the cathedral itself - much of it concerning the points of difference and common ground between Catholicism and my own Protestant tradition on the significance of pilgrimage, the veneration of relics, the cult of saints, my personal prayer discipline and so on. While some sort of individual conversation was the norm at the time I think mine was exceptional in its length and range of subject matter because I was a relative novelty then: a Protestant fresh from a degree in theology and about to enter the final stages of study for ordination.

I found my own conversation with the priest extremely helpful as a debriefing exercise to begin to see my pilgrimage in some coherent shape. Not in any sense confrontational or a pass/fail examination. I would also like to see a return to a situation where people are expected to give some sort of personal account of their journey before receiving a Compostela which does after all testify to their religious or spiritual motivations for the pilgrimage. But I can see two major problems in doing so. Firstly there has been a huge change in understanding of what the Camino is: from being primarily a religious or spiritual exercise but one open to all who are sympathetic to that concept it has evolved into a much more vaguely defined spiritual/cultural activity in which even to ask the question about an individual's spiritual motivations is often seen as intrusive or unacceptably judgmental. And the second issue is more prosaic and practical: where would you find enough priests with time on their hands and the sympathy and interest to attempt the task when we are faced with the vast numbers arriving in Santiago these days? By the time of my second Camino in 2002 the conversation took place with lay volunteers in the pilgrim office and was far less searching or indeed time-consuming. Given the huge increase in numbers it is hard to see how it could be otherwise. As @t2andreo put it very pithily in another thread recently “you can have it good, fast, or cheap...pick two....
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
@Bradypus -Before my first arrival into Santiago, I'd heard from former pilgrims (who were re-walking the Le Puy for fun) about this interview. I'd given some thought to what my various answers would be to various invented questions and what question I might have for him. Sadly, on that arrival in 2013, the personal interviews were over and the lovely volunteer at the PO counter just dealt with the mundane details of paperwork. The poor dear volunteer shepherding the line, at the top of the stairs (in a previous PO building), got to deal with my unexpected blubbering tears.

Come to think of it, perhaps the priests were on to something, offloading the tears.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Before my first arrival into Santiago, I'd heard from former pilgrims (who were re-walking the Le Puy for fun) about this interview. I'd given some thought to what my various answers would be to various invented questions and what question I might have for him.
Sounds as if just the prospect of having to account for yourself did the job pretty well anyway. I don't think that anyone was ever looking for a particular set of "correct" answers. More a way of establishing that you had been asking the right sort of questions yourself on your journey.
 

Mycroft

Member
But even without a phone and the possibility to check numbers remotely, you still have some idea of how long things are gonna take. If the estimated waiting time is 4 or 5 hours, at least you know you can go and grab a coffee or lunch somewhere. Come back, check the number and decide to stay or leave again and do some shopping or whatever you want. It's still much better than a line you have to stand in for hours.
And if you don't want to loose sight of the numbers, just stay around and wait at the office. Then for you things will just be like before: you go to the office and wait for your turn.
Yes I understand. Was simply pointing out some folks don’t have access the way others do.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
It seems that the practice of stopping issuing tickets in early or mid-afternoon is making the early morning a very busy time as the previous day's 'latecomers' queue for a Compostela. A number of members of the APOC Facebook group posted of their experience today: queues beginning to form from 7am and an estimated 200 people already waiting when the office opened at 8am.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
It seems that the practice of stopping issuing tickets in early or mid-afternoon is making the early morning a very busy time as the previous day's 'latecomers' queue for a Compostela. A number of members of the APOC Facebook group posted of their experience today: queues beginning to form from 7am and an estimated 200 people already waiting when the office opened at 8am.
Hardy surprising since the stopping of issuing tickets merely defers demand - it will also make it less attractive to walk into SdC first thing as you will be behind the latecomers queue
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
Sounds to me that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the office to open at 7am in peak season.

After many visits to Spain, and I try to adapt while I am there, I really struggle with their weird hours. Everywhere is closed when I am in town, and open when I’m walking, resting, eating or sleeping. It took me a week to get my glasses fixed once because I was never near an optometrist when it was open. Coming from a country that has office hours from 8am to 4pm, and very many people are at work by 7am to beat the rush hour traffic, walking through Spanish towns at 9am and it is still dead quiet, often makes me wonder if there has been a nuclear war overnight that I somehow slept through. Not complaining, just saying; I love Spain!
 

wjohnk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese Coastal (2019)
I finished my Camino at 2pm last Sunday and was politely told that no more tickets could be issued that day.
On Monday I got to the office at 7.45am and collected ticket no 168 and got my Compostela at 10.30. Fortunately I had an extra day in Santiago so that I could do so. The problem seems to be that demand for Compostelas exceeds the rate that they can be issued. The staff were all polite and hardworking - there were just not enough of them. I believe that they are mostly volunteers and deserve our thanks. In an ideal world there would be more volunteers! There is of course no charge for a Compostela.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
They cannot afford to hire more staff. More volunteers might help... like from amongst the Forum membership... Just sayin... Consider being part of the solution... See this thread for everything you need to know...


Each time I return to work as a volunteer, I continue to make the same business case that they MUST introduce at least SOME automation to the process, particularly for those arriving pilgrims who are okay with it.

I accept maintaining as much of the traditional approach as can be done. Continuing to throw more bodies or longer hours at the problem is not going to successfully address the issue. I explain my approach below...

Presently, the pilgrim office has 16 networked counter positions for processing arriving pilgrims, plus another four networked workstations in the adjacent group processing office. Even if these 20 workstations are staffed 24 x 7, it will not be adequate to process the estimated 3000 - 5000 pilgrims expected per day, seven days per week, during peak season of the the 2021 Holy Year.

Simply put, more bodies and more hours is NEVER going to be a valid solution, at least IMHO.

By the numbers, one person can process about 40 - 60 arriving pilgrims seeking a Compostela and / or Distance Certificate per five or six-hour workday. Presently, the individual contact time at the counter, for one pilgrim is (in general) from 8 - 10 minutes.

This is NOT a linear model. Each pilgrim is different. I have seen some people be finished in 2-3 minutes, and some take 15 minutes, or more. Staff must take regular breaks: bathroom, water, snack, etc.

There are no formal break period, per se. Staff are encouraged to look after their own needs. So, the work rate is highly elastic.

Staff and volunteers typically work six-days per week. Interviewing pilgrims is actually very stressful and these people are wiped out after their shifts... Again, this is not an assembly line occupation you cannot do "back of the envelope" straight line calculations on this.

The process solution is very complex and highly multivariate. It can be modeled using automation. Been there done that, so I understand what I am talking about.

But, let's not even get started down that path. I have first-hand experience with this, enough to know that it is not a difficult thing to setup and model. However, the powers that be, are likely not prepared to deal with the results. So, why bother...

This really busy time starts each year at Semana Santa, Holy Week, and continues through mid - October. The peak hits at the same time every year. But in 2021, it is expected to be some 40 - 50 percent HIGHER than what will be seen in 2020. At least that is what historic analysis suggests. The Holy Year volume is typically about 50% higher than the last, previous "normal" year.

Presently, I am trying to suggest, because a head-on approach never works, that they TRIAGE arriving pilgrims into FOUR parallel, but physically processes, The building can accommodate two separate entries, one of Rua das Carretas (as is) and another around the corner, through the large vehicle gate (as the architect designed the campus for 2016).

Here is my basic TRIAGE process approach:

AUTOMATED ASSIST PROCESSING:

Groups of 10 or more
- these groups MUST:
  • Pre-register, over the internet, at least 48-hours before the group arrival at Santiago,
  • Submit ALL their estadillo credential information electronically, using a web-based application that has already been developed but never deployed,
  • The person submitting the information receives a SINGLE QR code, following successful receipt of the transmitted group data.
  • This code relates to the large group application, and has a large letter G (for Group) printed on it. The code can be printed out or saved to a smartphone.
  • At the office, the group leader proceeds to the designated Express / Group Processing entry (side gate) and has the group QR code read,
  • The system verifies that information has been received, processed and completed certificates are ready for pick up.
  • ONLY the group leader enters the pilgrim office Express / Group processing office to validate credentials and pick up pre-printed / completed Compostelas and / or Distance Certificate.
  • Other group members either wait in the rear garden, or outside the complex, wherever...
  • Payments due are made, and the group leader exists the process...
Individual Pilgrims CHOOSING to use the Express Automated Process - These individual (non-group) pilgrims MUST:
  • access the available web application, at least 24-hours in advance of arrival at Santiago,
  • Submit ALL the information now on the manual estadillo form that all pilgrims complete at the counter, all data is mandatory. But all EU data protections are adhered to. Specifically whereas demographic data is maintained, names are discarded immediately after the Compostela / Distance Certificate is picked up.
  • Select the Latin given name they prefer on their Compostela from a pull-down choice box
  • Select the OPTIONAL dedication "In Vicare Pro" and provide the full and correct spelling of that name for the dedication on the Compostela,
  • Opt-in to buy an optional Distance Certificate,
  • Submit this request, and receive a QR code in reply, similar to the current system. Except these QR codes have the letter E (for Express) printed on them for all to see.
  • On arrival at the Pilgrim Office, pilgrims with an electronic QR code (identical to an airline border pass) on their smartphones, are directed to the side / Express entrance (also used by group leaders).
  • The QR code is read and validated at the entry, the pilgrim enters,
  • Credentials are reviewed, validated and double-stamped.
  • The pilgrim is presented their precision-printed (calligraphic font) Compostela (with or without the In Vicare Pro dedication) and a similarly printed (optional) Distance Certificate.
  • Payment is made and the pilgrim exits the process...
MANUAL ONLY PROCESSING:

Groups of less than 10 (9 and below), must -
  • Designate a group leader to approach the old-school group office, as is down now
  • Security validates whether the group is valid
  • The group leader completes the estadillo form, as is done now,
  • The group leader collects all credencials from the group, as is done now,
  • The group leader presents the completed estadillo form and credencials, as is done now,
  • Staff or security personnel accept these material and issue a timed return receipt to the leader. as is done now,
  • At the appropriate time, the leader returns to collect Compstelas and Distance Certificate (if requested), same as at present,
  • Only the leader enters the facility. All other group members are asked to wait outside.
  • No QR code is issued.
Individual pilgrims not in a group who cannot, or choose not to use the Express / Automated process, must -
  • Enter the Pilgrim Office campus
  • Proceed to the waiting area / hall, down the stairs and to the left
  • Take a QR number from a kiosk, this ticket has a large I (eye) printed on it (Individual)
  • Wait for their number to be called, as is the case presently
  • Present themselves, and their completed credential at the counter, when directed, as is now done.
  • The remainder process is the same as now done...
This is what I would like to see happen. The arriving flow is triaged into four separate sub-processes. The volume of people who need to enter the campus is reduced. The amount of automation is inversely applied to the volume of arriving pilgrims.

Everyone is taken care of. Groups have two processes. Individuals have choices as well. Holy Year, surge processing is accommodated without bringing everything to a screeching halt, causing riots, or attracting unfavorable attention by the media...

Automation is used ONLY for those who choose it, except for large groups (> 10) who are the primary cause of overwhelming delays, and which literally choke the process to a standstill. Large groups must mandatorily use the automated process.

I view this as a win-win-win. Tradition is maintained. The staff wins, the pilgrim wins, and the Church traditionalists win. After we get past the 2021 Holy Year, they can rethink returning to the current process. But, I rather suspect they will come to appreciate doing a lot more work with only a nominal staff increase. One can only hope.

My considered assessment is that the semi-automated process will take care of at least two-thirds of all pilgrims. In my view, that reduces the number of folks who must use the current, wholly manual process (excepting the QR number system) to less than is now the case.

I keep making suggestions leading to the above process solution. However, it is a challenge. I plan to make my pitch once again in 2020. I know that most of the pieces are already done. The disparate process pieces just need to be properly integrated into a process solution that flows smoothly.

At this point, I do not care much WHO can get the above in front of someone in authority who can direct staff to "make it happen." I just want things to work.

Obtaining credit is my last thought. One of the lessons I have learned in my six straight years as a volunteer, is that no idea is a good idea, until it comes from someone on staff, preferably in the Cathedral hierarchy. Human nature being what it is, a good idea is a good idea primarily when it comes from the top down. Maybe it is cultural... I do not know. I have seen similar paradigms in large corporations and government agencies.

Relating all of this, I am reminded about the old saw about being able to lead a horse to water, but not being able to make it drink...(sigh)...

If all pilgrims go away feeling satisfied about their experience, then I have done my job...at least the job I gave myself... Whatever makes things manageable and smooth for the 2021 Holy Year is what I am in favor of. That light coming towards us down the proverbial tunnel may be a train, it may be sunshine... I just want to be sure it is not a very angry pilgrim mob with torches.... anticipating an Auto da Fe!

Hope this helps the dialog.
 
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Mycroft

Member
How and in how many languages is this take a ticket and leave for a bit information conveyed? Enquiring minds want to know.
I was at the Pilgrim Office a few days ago around 2 pm. They had long before stopped giving out numbers and said we had to return in the morning. I got there at 0700 and was about 32nd in line (later several people saw people they met along the way and just squeezed into the queue so I became 36). Shortly after, there were a couple of hundred more lining the street. (Can’t imagine how the locals living in the flats there feel about being awakened by the hordes.) When the office opened at 8, they directed the first few in line to the counter (they did not yet have a full compliment of volunteers) and the rest of us out the back, down the stairs and to the left to the room where one gets a ticket. While we were waiting in line to move to the counter, we noticed no one was telling the newcomers they needed to go downstairs to get a number. The pilgrims started getting in the queue without numbers, which of course would mean they’d wait, get to the counter and be turned away, and have to start from scratch. Since no staff were there to tell the newcomers the process, we started explaining how to get the tickets.
Some of guards at the door were annoyed that people were excited about getting the compostela, and were chatting—many people didn’t realize when one first enters the building, there’s a chapel on the left with morning services in various languages which were disturbed by the people milling around talking.
Then there can be a crush of people in the corridor waiting for their numbers to be called because it is the exact place the newcomers must walk through to go outside to go down the staircase to get to the room with the ticket dispenser.

And a nice thing people may want to know is upstairs are offices where volunteers will greet people in various languages, offer tea and biscuits, answer questions, etc.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
The diversity in time taken from 2mins-15mins per person that Tom mentions should prompt some internal analysis, if only to allow the staff to highlight reasons behind the extreme times (both short and long)

I was towards the low end since the time I took to fill in my line of information was matched by the time to glance at my sellos (some 25 of them since Irun) and look up and then write my names in Latin on the certificate
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Some of the variability is based on the individual style of the person doing the interview. Some like to engage the pilgrim in a wide-ranging conversation to "improve the welcome experience." Others, have a "just that facts sir (or ma'am). Answer the questions please..." Wham, bam, and you are out of there fast.

I have had discussions about developing a standard method for doing a compostela interview to try to standardize the process. But, I am always met by resistance on all sides. By making the counter interview more like a polite discussion over coffee, many staff feel they are improving the welcome experience. This is largely endorsed by management and the clerical hierarchy.

So, I am stuck...

However, I am of the opposite school. In the first several decades of my career I was an immigration officer in my country. I worked what we all refer to as "passport control." In that process there is truncated conversation, where the officer asks a couple of key questions. You produce your passport and (maybe) boarding pass. If the officer cannot articulate a reason to refer you somewhere to talk to someone else for some reason, you are admitted, or allowed to depart.

Were I king, I would create such standard script for at the counter pilgrim interviews, if you will. I would politely side step all the polite chit chat and just get things done. You can be fast and professional without being rude. But, again, this involves trade offs. I suspect the hierarchy will not accept this change.

But, to those of those who like the rambling chat style of interview, what if I told you it would reduce wait times from several hours to no more than 30 minutes in the main queue? Do you still prefer to chit chat, knowing you are holding up the queue, regardless of system used to get you there? Do you appreciate that each of the pilgrims in front of your are taking valuable time?

That is why, in my process design above, I came up with the OPTIONAL automated system It operates more or less completely outside the regular office process. Pilgrims CHOOSE to avail themselves of this automated remote EXPRESS application process.

Express process pilgrims come to the side door (around the corner) and can be in and out in one to two minutes. They never enter the main building. If they followed the rules, their pre-printed Compostela and Distance Certificate would be waiting for them. Once the credencial was validated and stamped twice, they would be given their certificates. Easy peasy...

Remember, under my triage process concept (see above), an individual pilgrim could CHOOSE to have it fast and cheap, with laser precision calligraphy printing; or queue the current way for a slow and expensive (in terms of wasted time) process...with questionable handwriting...

So, fast, good, or cheap, pick two...

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Tom, I'm not a business type nor a manager but for some projects I've worked on there would be some instruction on how to proceed. One of these would be to get written goals of what the customer, or at least the project managers, wanted to accomplish. From there the engineers would come back with the question and restriction "Do you want it fast, good, or cheap? Pick two." Any chance that the higher ups in the church hierarchy (at least the earthly ones) could at least come up with written goals?

And of course developers have an easier time of things if the restrictions could be summed up as "Pick one."
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I totally relate to what you say. I wrote my lengthy tome, above, as a sort of “straw man” exercise. I want to see what response I get from my colleagues here, most all Camino veterans, who are intelligent and thoughtful people.

All opinion and input is valuable. The only comments I will toss will be the snarky ones with no substance, pro or con. So far, so good. All replies have been supportive.

I have worked at the pilgrim office for a total off six-months over the past six years. It is my fervent hope that I can continue to do so well into the future. Based on my professional experience and these wonderful experiences, I have developed a process solution that I think can work.

Right now, my plan is to see what reactions and suggestions my ideas above generate. Then, early in 2020, I plan to covert this material to a “white paper.” This paper, I will hand-deliver to people in the Cathedral hierarchy who can assess the ideas, and try to bring about meaningful changes.

Somewhere along the line, I will translate the white paper into Spanish. THAT should be hysterical...😏

Hope this helps.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Somewhere along the line, I will translate the white paper into Spanish. THAT should be hysterical...😏
Google Translate usually does a pretty good job but just now and again it produces a real gem. Like this "before and after" pair I spotted last week when searching for Camino news. Wouldn't that make the CF much more fun and possibly also thin the numbers out a little? :cool:
lions.jpg
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
As part of your suggested process, would it be possible to also allow the QR codes to be emailed and printed off so that those of us who do not carry a mobile phone are not excluded from the express line
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I continue to make the same business case that they MUST introduce at least SOME automation to the process, particularly for those arriving pilgrims who are okay with it.
. Again, this is not an assembly line occupation you cannot do "back of the envelope" straight line calculations on this.
There's some contradiction here - a one-pointed fixation on automated efficiency while admitting that an assembly line is impossible.

I am always met by resistance on all sides.
Maybe because not everyone shares your enthusiasm for this? I have great respect for your sincerity and devotion to giving back, @t2andreo, but fervently hope that the powers that be continue to resist these ideas about automation. Because it's only a MUST in your mind. Please don't presume to have the only correct viewpoint here.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Surely, if it can take 15 minutes to issue a single compostella and you need to cope with so many pilgrims then automation to a greater extent is the only answer
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Surely, if it can take 15 minutes to issue a single compostella and you need to cope with so many pilgrims then automation to a greater extent is the only answer
Average time in a loaded day less than 6 minutes.
If 16 positions carry out 2000 Compostelas per day in 12 hours, then 166 per hour: 10 per position/hour:6 minutes per pilgrim.
But it is inferior to 6 m because above is not considering brakes, toilet, etc. of volonteers.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
A friend has just pointed me towards a Facebook post by an Italian peregrino yesterday. Quite astonishing.
Screenshot_20190923-135030.jpg
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
As part of your suggested process, would it be possible to also allow the QR codes to be emailed and printed off so that those of us who do not carry a mobile phone are not excluded from the express line
Good suggestion! Will take this on board for version 1.1
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Average time in a loaded day less than 6 minutes.
If 16 positions carry out 2000 Compostelas per day in 12 hours, then 166 per hour: 10 per position/hour:6 minutes per pilgrim.
But it is inferior to 6 m because above is not considering brakes, toilet, etc. of volonteers.
I said at least once that the process is NOT linear. You cannot apply straight line averaging to these values. Each interview is HIGHLY dynamic.

As long as there is no set standard for conducting an interview, if the questions are not standard, so arriving pilgrims learn just to answer the questions, the time needed per pilgrim is literally all over the place. That is one reason for developing an OPTIONAL automated process for those who just want to get their piece of paper and care less about the "feel good" aspect of the process.

The best analog for this process, in my experience, is going to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a driver license or other vehicle related transaction. Personally, I do not care about the person behind the counter. I just want to be treated professionally, and quickly. I want to get in and out as fast as possible.

This is not a reflection on the Pilgrim Office staff. It is a question of personal values. In this case, if offered the choice of good, fast and cheap, I will always opt for fast and good. Cheap is a flexible variable. I am willing to pay for expeditious professional treatment.

Having walked several Caminos, and having four Compostelas for the six journeys I made, I would opt for the automated process if it were available, knowing the result was a perfectly calligraphed laser-printed Compostela and Distance Certificate. The current staff can NEVER produce this consistent level of quality and legibility.

My challenge is to bring this change, and optional process, about.

Hope this helps...
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
As part of your suggested process, would it be possible to also allow the QR codes to be emailed and printed off so that those of us who do not carry a mobile phone are not excluded from the express line
Not sure that I can follow this. If you do not carry a mobile phone how do you want to enrol online and print out your QR code? As someone who is carrying a mobile phone while travelling I can tell you that one of the major obstacles is finding a printer to which I could print ... (I like to print my boarding cards, just in case ...).
Anyway, it always helps to know current procedures well. Below is what the ticket looks like that a pilgrim pulled out of the ticket machine at the Oficina del Peregrino yesterday (Sunday 22 September 2019). Note that he or she got it at 8:30 am and was already pilgrim number 412. Only about 1400 pilgrims received a Compostela yesterday, so nearly a third of them piled up in the early morning queue to get their ticket ... are they perhaps now queuing for tickets to get a Compostela instead of queuing for Compostelas? 🙃

Ticket 22 Sept.jpg
 
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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
It doesn't matter if the process is linear or not. If 16 positions are able to carry out 2000 compostelas in 12 hours in a loaded day, then the average time per pilgrim in that day is less than 6 minutes.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
A friend has just pointed me towards a Facebook post by an Italian peregrino yesterday. Quite astonishing.
View attachment 65030
This looks embarrassing for everyone. The immediate key to making this go away is to bring the side gate back into use as it was intended. That would move the entire queue into the rear garden, and would hide it from street view. I wonder if this queue has made the local newspaper and TV station yet.

The reason the side gate has not been used since 2016 is that there have been active renovations ongoing. These works are now confined to the interior of one, remaining building of the campus.

Work to complete interior renovations there has stalled as cost overruns and oopsie surprises at the Cathedral renovation site compelled shifting resources from one project to the other, arguably more important renovation project.

Health & safety rules originally precluded using the rear, side gate to access the garden. I think they might have got stuck in this practice without reevaluating it. It needs to be reconsidered, especially in light of the photo above.

I opine that they should open this gate 15-minutes before actual opening to move the queue into the rear garden, and staged in front of the number-issuing kiosks. This keeps the queue moving (very important conceptually) and keeps folks in line order.

At opening time, the already formed queue would be able to obtain numbers from the kiosks and sort themselves out as the process intended. Clearly the word has gotten out that there are only a limited number of numbers being issued daily, and each pilgrim wants to be certain they obtain one of those numbers. I understand that, as it is human nature.

Part of reason for this clear disconnect is the time of year. At this time of every year the peak season shifts to the off-season. Also, the number of volunteer staff plummets as schools, and seminaries are back in session. However, it may well be that the peak season is stretching longer this year than in the past, and the office got caught out, not having enough volunteers available first thing in the morning. It could be a short-term disconnect.

In passing, I was there last May, and again in July - August I tried to reinforce the scheduling concept of front-loading the staff schedule first thing in the morning to prevent queues and backups and slowdowns from forming in the first place. My idea was that if you had most of your available staff for the day scheduled to work from opening time until one-hour AFTER the Pilgrim Mass ends... about 14:00, queue and backups would never form, and you would be processing pilgrims at the rate they arrived after 14:00. Absent the odd group "pig in the python" this would work.

They DID do this over much of the summer, when they had enough volunteer bodies. But, as soon as the number of people at the counter dips from 12 - 16 to 8 - 10, or somewhere in-between, queues rapidly form.

Some of you may remember the posts and photos LIVE from the Pilgrim Office that I posted while I was there that showed literally more people working than on the queue, using the old system, even at noon. This was a prime example of queue theory, and scheduling to prevent queue from forming. How fast they forget...

The cynic in me is still wondering how long it will take lower numbers to be sold on the street. I hope this does not happen. But I have lived long enough to understand human nature.

I have suggested asking pilgrims to enter their last name at the kiosk before the kiosk prints a number. This would print their name on the numbered chit, and in the QR code. This effectively prevents transfer for the numbered chit to another pilgrim.

This is yet another reason to develop and offer the OPTIONAL express automated process. I am willing to bet that most of those people in the pre-opening queue would use that process and avoid ANY queue.

I continue to drop hints, suggestions, and make recommendations... Yup, like herding cats...

Hope this helps.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
A friend has just pointed me towards a Facebook post by an Italian peregrino yesterday. Quite astonishing.
View attachment 65030
Yet, yesterday only 1421 pilgrims came for a Compostela, according to the Oficina's website.

And at the moment of writing (Monday 15:45 in Santiago), they are processing pilgrim number 654. One can amuse oneself with reading the bar code on a ticket (it's the same code on every ticket) to see whose turn it is next. They've processed a few while I wrote this message. Ah, the people who don't use mobile phones with QR readers don't know what they are missing. 😂

Use this one, the copy I posted earlier is not clear enough.

Ticket.png
 

mjal

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Tom,

Wonderful post(s), as ever. May I make an informal enquiry/suggestion re volunteering?

"They cannot afford to hire more staff. More volunteers might help... like from amongst the Forum membership... Just sayin... Consider being part of the solution... See this thread for everything you need to know... "

I would be very happy to volunteer (at almost any time of the year) on a cost-free basis i.e. I would pay for my lodging, food etc BUT I do not speak Spanish and doubt if I have the motivation/energy/talent to acquire sufficient for the purpose.
Is there a place for monoglots ( well, just a little French available also in my case) to process pilgrims at the desks? From the 2016 statistics, USA, UK and Ireland account for about 10% of those acquiring a compostela and I suspect that many of the Germans would prefer to conduct business in English rather than Spanish. "Smaller" nationalities might also be more comfortable using English.

Any mileage in this? What do you think? Other opinions?

Mike,
Scotland.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm not sure that this new system is really an improvement over the good old fashioned waiting in line. It's compelling people to stress out over arriving early enough in the day, and racing on their final day on the Camino, rather than enjoying it. Are they actually able to process more Compostelas each day?
Why don't they have the ticket dispensing machines near the entrance of the building? Why make pilgrims make their way through the building, go downstairs and through the garden just to collect a ticket?
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Not sure that I can follow this. If you do not carry a mobile phone how do you want to enrol online and print out your QR code? As someone who is carrying a mobile phone while travelling I can tell you that one of the major obstacles is finding a printer to which I could print ... (I like to print my boarding cards, just in case ...).
I could use the computer in Pilgrim House, for example
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
A friend has just pointed me towards a Facebook post by an Italian peregrino yesterday. Quite astonishing.
View attachment 65030
Another person posted their ticket in that Facebook group. So on Sunday 22 September, at 8:30, within the first half hour of opening the Pilgrims office, about 400 pilgrims got their ticket. Four hours later, at 12:45, another 1000 pilgrims had gotten their tickets, that's on average only 125 pilgrims per half hour instead of 400. Pictures don't always say more than a thousands words ... The question is really, with the new system, are people having to queue longer overall than before or not. Not individuals, obviously, because there will always be people that had to queue for a very long time while others didn't but people on the whole ... and of course they tend to take pictures when there's a long queue and not when there isn't ...

Ticket 22 Sept.jpg
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Four hours later, at 12:45, another 1000 pilgrims had gotten their tickets, that's on average only 125 pilgrims per half hour instead of 400.
I found the idea that 400 would already be there to take tickets by 08:30 pretty remarkable. And also that nearly 1400 in total would have taken their tickets before 1pm. This may be the "new normal" but it still comes as something of a surprise to someone who can recall when fewer than 5,000 Compostelas were issued in an entire year.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I follow the posts about the ticketing system more out of idle curiosity than anything else but what strikes me the most is that people arrive in the afternoon in Santiago and apparently leave already the next morning or next day, hence the apparent fear that they will not get a Compostela ...
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
I found the idea that 400 would already be there to take tickets by 08:30 pretty remarkable. And also that nearly 1400 in total would have taken their tickets before 1pm. This may be the "new normal" but it still comes as something of a surprise to someone who can recall when fewer than 5,000 Compostelas were issued in an entire year.
It's not that surprising if tickets stopped being issued at lunch-time the previous day
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
but what strikes me the most is that people arrive in the afternoon in Santiago and apparently leave already the next morning, hence the apparent fear that they will not get a Compostela ...
Is that so surprising? That would give me plenty of time to visit the cathedral, stroll around town and enjoy a meal and a few drinks and tapas. Perhaps meet up with a friend or two. While I am very fond of the city I do not feel the need for a more extended stay each time I visit.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I guess these early morning queues also demonstrate the role of social media. It takes only one person with a mobile phone and membership in an active online group for the whole "camino family" to learn about having to get a ticket first for obtaining their Compostela in a few days ...
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Not sure that I can follow this. If you do not carry a mobile phone how do you want to enrol online and print out your QR code? As someone who is carrying a mobile phone while travelling I can tell you that one of the major obstacles is finding a printer to which I could print ... (I like to print my boarding cards, just in case ...).
Anyway, it always helps to know current procedures well. Below is what the ticket looks like that a pilgrim pulled out of the ticket machine at the Oficina del Peregrino yesterday (Sunday 22 September 2019). Note that he or she got it at 8:30 am and was already pilgrim number 412. Only about 1400 pilgrims received a Compostela yesterday, so nearly a third of them piled up in the early morning queue to get their ticket ... are they perhaps now queuing for tickets to get a Compostela instead of queuing for Compostelas? 🙃

View attachment 65032
To answer your last question first, yes, I suspect that arriving pilgrim shave gotten word that only a finite number of queue places / numbers are issued each day. This is based on processing capability. Advance tickets are never issued.

I was going to wait until this thread and my suggestions were more mature before submitting them. However, the photo appearing this morning, of a queue of pilgrims waiting for the office to open, and extending to the corner of Rua das Carretas and Rua Hortas, forced me to email this thread to the pilgrim office and Cathedral management. Something has to change, and FAST. Personally, I find this embarrassing.

On to the rest of your question...

If you are not using a mobile phone that can access the internet, then you cannot use the proposed express process. If you DO have a smartphone, the QR ticket can be saved to your smartphone in the identical manner an airline boarding pass can be saved to Apple Wallet, or the similar Android application. It can also be sent to a wireless printer. I have done this with airline boarding passes.

It MIGHT be possible to use any computer to submit your data in advance using any internet connected computer, and then be able to print your QR code / ticket on paper. That idea was suggested earlier, and has been added to my list of ideas.

If you either cannot, or choose not to pre-submit data and obtain the QR code / chit / ticket., then in my process scheme, you are compelled to arrive at the office, go to the waiting room, take a ticket from the kiosk and queue as is currently done. Nothing changes in that regard. The only apparent thing you would observe is that there appeared to be far fewer pilgrims. This is because the express process takes most of the pilgrims away from this flow.

My entire idea is to skim off those folks who PREFER and CHOOSE to submit data in advance and dispense with all the touchy-feely-overly chatty counter experience. Not all pilgrims want to share their entire Camino with staff. IMHO, I want to get in, be treated professionally and get out ASAP.

My idea is to separate the incoming pilgrim flow to two main tranches. (1) Those who CHOOSE to provide data in advance are taken in a separate entry, and whisked in and out quickly, out of sight of the (2) "old-school" arriving pilgrims who CHOSE to do things the current / manual way.

Over my experiences both professionally before retiring and working at the pilgrim office, I have learned than one size never fits all. One process does not work for all clients.

My assessment is that upwards of two-thirds or all arriving pilgrims can be rapidly sorted out and processed using the expres method, especially during the peak, summer season.

Hope this clarifies...
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I follow the posts about the ticketing system more out of idle curiosity than anything else but what strikes me the most is that people arrive in the afternoon in Santiago and apparently leave already the next morning or next day, hence the apparent fear that they will not get a Compostela ...
Then that is THEIR FAILURE TO PLAN ahead. There is adequate information about, especially via social media, about the benefits of arriving early and taking care of the Pilgrim Office process as a priority. That, I suspect, is the origin of the very early pre-opening line at the pilgrim office.

As an aside, having gotten queue numbers and learned how to check the status of the queue remotely using the internet over their smartphones, these folks would have more time to do other things. In other words, they accidently got prompted to do it the smart way...first things first...

IMHO, people need to learn that failure to plan ought never be thought to create an emergency situation for a service provider, in ANY aspect of one's life.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués Porto'17,Lisbon'18
Inglés A Coruña y Ferrol '18
Invierno'19
I'm not sure that this new system is really an improvement over the good old fashioned waiting in line. It's compelling people to stress out over arriving early enough in the day, and racing on their final day on the Camino, rather than enjoying it. Are they actually able to process more Compostelas each day?
Why don't they have the ticket dispensing machines near the entrance of the building? Why make pilgrims make their way through the building, go downstairs and through the garden just to collect a ticket?
Hi,
I agree...now you will almost need to plan on an extra day (or 2) in Santiago to get a Compostela or distance certificate. With the old 'normal' line one could choose to wait, those with deadlines, or come back later, those with more flexible plans, now with hundreds of tickets given out before 9am anyone arriving that day will have to spend the entire day waiting since the morning will be devoted to the previous days arrivals, though you have the ability to choose where you wait if you have online access. I will continue to follow updates but I doubt I will bother with the pilgrims office again. Waiting is waiting. I would think a mail in option (paid) for those that can't change travel plans without expensive fees because unforeseen bumps get them to Santiago a few days late and the night before a flight out. A place to get a stamp and then leave your credential for future processing, and pre-paid self addressed envelope....no system is perfect..... Thanks to all that keep on trying.
Buen camino,
MaryEllen
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016

The Xunta budget for Xacobeo 2021 is 270.millions euros.
Why with that amount of money for the event only 16 positions will be available in 2021 for issuing 4500 compostelas in a day?
I think that 16 positions shouldn't process more than 1500 compostelas per day with an average time of 7 minutes.
So, another 32 positions will be required for 4500 compostelas in a day.
All pilgrims would arrive first to the current building and the system would provide overflow indications in the ticket to the other "compostela centers" (1 or 2) by an algorithm to decide.
In Xacobeo 2021 there will be enough volunteers and money to make possible this solution.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Your math is correct. There is no way that more humans or longer hours will meet the anticipated demand for 2021, and beyond.

Some use of automation to divert a large percent of the incoming Pilgrim flow is the only viable solution I can see. The work process MUST change.

The sole alternative to introducing automation is to entirely get out of issuing Compostelas. This has been discussied in another thread.

Both concepts, use automation or just don’t do it at all, are highly controversial. Neither approach will be taken lightly.

We shall see what happens...
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I'm having fun here with my QR reader on my iPhone 🥳. It's 2 minutes past 8 pm in Santiago and the counter says that they are on Compostela number 1073 and it still seems to be going up ...

Edited to add: It's 40 minutes past 8 pm and they are still beavering away: 1140 Compostelas now ...

Edited to add: It's 5 minutes past 9 pm and the counter has stopped: 1150 Compostelas today. You should see it tomorrow on their website ...
 
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auburnfive

Active Member
Quick question - for a group of 7, does one walk past the line to the security officer to get the group form, or is their another line somewhere?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Generally, seven people would be a group. The number of people comprising a group is dynamic. Pilgrim office permanent staff will inform security how many people they will treat as a group at that moment of a particular day.

In my personal experience I have seen it go as low as four, but never less. I have also seen hit go as high as 10.

Unless something has changed, once the security guy accepts the group claim, you will go no further. There is no queue for these groups. In fact, when large groups accidently get past security, and take QR numbers they TOTALLY SCREW UP the entire system...

Anway, the security guy will explain how the process works and give the group leader (the group needs to designate one person) the estadillo form to provide all the required information, one line to each pilgrim in the group. Once done, the group leader approaches the group office counter and receives a receipt for the form and credencials. The leader is told when to return, later that day, to pick up the completed Composelas. That's it.

This said, I heard (BUT HAVE NOT YET CONFIRMED) that the QR issuing kiosk asks the user if they are a member of a group. Then something happens (I do not know what). This is new to me, as it was no in effect in mid-August, when I was last there. It may be as simple as telling you to NOT TAKE A TICKET if you are in a group. That makes sense, given what I just wrote above.

As far as I know the explanation of the manual process is the same as is being done for all group processing. There is no (insofar as I know personally) any QR code involved. There is also no waiting in a queue. It is very much like dropping off laundry to be cleaned, then returning later when you are told to come and pick it up.

If anyone knows more on this particular issue, does the QR slip kiosk do anything group-wise, please contribute it here.

Hope this helps the dialog.
 

mmmmartin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
Well I'm worried now as I'm starting there on October 7 for a fortnight as a volunteer and am not sure I'll be able to understand this system.
I suppose you could pray for me.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
There's not much wrong with the ticketing system I guess. This is mass behaviour. You hear that you need to go really early because otherwise you won't get a ticket, and that's what many then do ...

I went to the FB group in question. The photo of the long line was taken at 8 am when the office opens. One member in that FB group who reacted to the photo writes: I arrived on 15 September 2019. At 16:00 they didn't give out any more numbers, and at 6:00 in the morning of the next day there were already pilgrims waiting in line. That's 2 hours before the office opens!

They gave out about 1400 Compostelas yesterday and about 1200 Compostelas today. Surely that is not unusually high for September?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I'm wondering if the following would be consided gaming the system or making efficient use of resources? Someone in the queue for a QR ticket finds 9 strangers who also walked from at least Sarria and becomes the group leader to use that method to get compostelas.
 

auburnfive

Active Member
When I was with a group last time, they asked if we started at the same place on the same date, to confirm we were a group, so no gaming the system that way. Can just one from the group come with all of the credentials?
 

SioCamino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Well I'm worried now as I'm starting there on October 7 for a fortnight as a volunteer and am not sure I'll be able to understand this system.
I suppose you could pray for me.
Hi, I worked there just for one day last week as I had a spare day when I finished my camino. When sitting behind the desks and writing the Compostelas, the process really hasn’t changed that much. You “call” the next number and wait for the pilgrim to appear. Do check that they have come to the right desk i.e. their ticket number should match what you can see on the screen. Then you just proceed as before really.

What struck me last week was the number of “no shows” - I had at least 10 on a 6 hour shift. (How long to wait for a pilgrim to appear after calling their number????I generally gave it 60 seconds which apparently was very generous - I was told 30 seconds)

The input screens have changed ever so slightly but you will quickly get used to that. What was interesting to me was that now I have a counter for how long I’ve spent on each pilgrim. That day it varied between 3 and 6 minutes.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Quick question - for a group of 7, does one walk past the line to the security officer to get the group form, or is their another line somewhere?
The security personnel will either give you the form and explain what to do, OR will direct you to step into the adjacent group office.
 

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