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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bravo, Sydney! (Why WYD08 Turned Out Successful)

Reasons why WYD08 in Sydney turned out successful:

a. The Australian Government made their own WYD08 website in order to disseminate information on everything about WYD especially helpful updates on travel safety.

b. Welcome banners in certain key areas to make the pilgrims feel the warm welcome of Sydney and signages in every nook and cranny of the city so that pilgrims would always know where to go.

Central Station (photo by Chris Sanchez)

c. Updated signages inside some of the trains and even added an Emergency Procedure sticker.

d. Opened WYD the Aussie below shows the greeting for Pilgrims at St Mary's Cathedral.

e. The WYD kits were meticulously made and of quality.

WYD Kits for Volunteers (Photo from Elmer Medalla)

f. The Security Team for WYD08 were of reliable help and very respectable. I admire these people for being so accommodating to everyone that participated in WYD...other than doing there jobs well, I observed that they were also having fun in the festivities of WYD.

Plus Pogi Points: The Police gave out lollies while we waited for the Pope's motorcade (not sure if all the Police did this but in Albert Street, we had very friendly Policemen).

g. In train stations and inside buses, you can find two types of Travel Information Brochures (1) for non-prilgims and (2) for pilgrims. These guides were also available online for download.

h. Schools moved their 2-week Winter Break to 2nd and 3rd week of July (instead of 1st and 2nd week) so schools can be used as accommodation for Pilgrims and as to ease traffic in Sydney Metropolitan.

i. Employees working in Sydney were encouraged to take time off work on the week of WYD08 in order to ease human traffic in the city and to lessen people using public transport.

j. For those who worked on WYD08 week, they were advised not to bring their private vehicles since there were alot of road closures in Sydney--these road closures were for the Pilgrims so they'd have more space for their activities.

k. Australia made a law for those who want to annoy pilgrims (yes, some wanted to annoy the pilgrims), if somebody is caught or reported to be annoying a Pilgrim, he/she will be made to pay a fine of AUD$5,500.

l. The cleaners in the city worked overtime. Every morning when I arrived in the city for work, Sydney is immaculately clean---as if no WYD08 festivities happened the night before.

I'm so proud with what Australia has done to make WYD08 a success. Very well-planned and organized. Hats off to Sydney for a job well done!