Monday, June 15, 2015

Logistics at the EULAR 2015 Meeting in Rome

As I had attended the EULAR 2010 Meeting in Rome, I should have expected some problems this year, too. Maybe I blanked out out the logistic shortcomings. But let me already make it clear at this point, I don't think that the fault lies at EULAR.

I was staying at a small hotel in Fiumicino. Airport and the Fiera di Roma Congress Center are reasonable close by. The hotel was about 100 m away from the riviera. Molto bene! If it didn't turn out to a logistic nightmare. The sleepy, little town isn't well connected by public transport; maybe that's the reason I liked Fiumicino, not overcrowded by tourists. If I I took a late  start to go to the meeting I used a shuttle service. I only did this once. Otherwise I took the shuttle to the airport, the train from there and then another shuttle bus. The railway station is about 1.5 km from the congress center; if you missed the shuttle, you had to walk. If you didn't have a ticket, you found out that there is no vending machine at the station.
To add to my personal logistic nightmare, my airline had changed my departure from Fiumicino to Ciampino airport, only 24 hours before the start. To go from Fiumicino to Ciampino is a logistic challenge, if you do it the way I did, as the people I asked didn't know that there is a shuttle bus in between the airports.

Lets come back to transportation. There have been improvements to 2010, but still the shuttles were not frequent enough. And the stuttles to and from the airport were very insufficient. Even if I would have left from Fiumicino, I wouldn't have made it with the shuttle.

The toilet facilities were underdimensioned, which meant long lines after the sessions; the women's waiting line had been discouraging. Some doors didn't close. The sanitary conditions were bad, not always, but at peak times.

I found the logistics of catering very good, even for vegetarians!

Sessions were well advertized and it was easy to find the locations.

Would I come back to Rome, if in let's say five years the EULAR Annual Meeting would be there again? By all means yes!

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