bradtem wrote:We decided to sacrifice watching the temple burn to get a fast exodus, but in spite of it being posted here on ePlaya, nobody seemed to know about the 8pm Temple Burn plan. So we ended up missing the burn and getting caught in the line after it, since "just before the burn" is normally a great time to leave because it requires that sacrifice. No more though. About 6 hours to pavement, total of 10 hours to Truckee (no rooms in Reno.) Got there so late we lucked out and did an "early check in" for Monday night rather than a late check in for Sunday night.
I've proposed that next year, as many burners as possible run a GPS logging program on their phones or cameras when they enter and leave, to produce a large selection of tracklogs. This will reveal very precise wait times with no subjective impression, speeds of driving over all segments and a lot of other data. In fact, with the lanes so wide it will even tell if all lanes are really even. (Though GPS won't spot a lane reliably, it will give you sense of what side of the lanes you were on.)
Exodus and gate waits are becoming a major impediment. Yes, they want BM to be painful to get to, to keep the demand down. But the Gate+Exodus "tax" is on the full-week people which is a shame. Exodus is a hard one to fix, there is only so much capacity, and many hard to change factors about when people have to get home and what burns they want to see.
Gate, on the other hand, is a matter of choice. You can solve gate by throwing money at it. Not quite so trivial as that but it can be done. But I'll tell you, I doubt there are many vehicles in the long gate lines at the start of the event who would not happily fork over enough cash to meet the budgetary needs of a mega-gate with consistent sub-30 minute waits. The gate has a lot of volunteers right now, which is a barrier to solving the problem with money -- people don't like to volunteer next to others who are paid unless the paid staff are clearly at a different level of work -- but I am afraid that's not worth the huge amount of wasted time a long gate entails. If 20,000 people do a 4 hour gate wait, that's 80,000 wasted hours and $1.7 million at the national average hourly wage. Yes, you're not working, you might even enjoy yourself in line, but if you prefer, you can add another number to this.
I figure that if you're lucky, you get 60 to 80 hours of time at Burning Man, not counting sleep, camp set-up, tear-down and other required work-time. According to the 2004 census, the average person spends $2,000 to attend BM (for me it's much more) so if you spend $2K for 80 hours they cost about $25, and you could either look at that on its own, or add it to the national wage to get a $3.7M cost of the gate wait.
In other words, it might make a lot of sense to solve this one by throwing money at it.
(Some of these numbers are wild-assed guesses, but I know that 35,000 people were in the city by Monday noon -- when the wait was still 3-4 hours)
Bradtem...are you by chance an academic? I only ask because although you have some interesting ideas, you're missing the point by a wide margin for a business owner.
Burning Man is a commercial event; as ugly as that sounds, it's a product. The demand for the product is ever increasing, and outpaces the ability of the provider to manufacture more (pop. capacity). I understand your hurt feelings re: your wasted time, blah blahy blah.... but why, pray tell, would a business spend any money to solve a "problem" that doesn't impact the demand for the event? There is ONE, and precisely ONE controlling need on opening night: keep traffic moving safely, however slowly, down the highway into BM. That's being done now.
The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion - W. Blake (attribution corrected)