2006 was the seventh year Burning Man has offered a shuttle service to the town of Gerlach and the Empire General Store. Our operating protocols and setup did not change this year. The week was uneventful for the most part; the busses ran consistently on time and the participants were, for the most part, completely happy with the service.
The round-trip bus ride takes two hours. Beginning Wednesday, busses leave the Black Rock City bus depot every hour between 9 AM and 5 PM. The last bus leaves the depot on Saturday at 3 PM and returns two hours later at 5 PM. Again in 2006, the busses ran on time throughout the week. The drivers were friendly and helpful, and many of the passengers seemed to really enjoy the trip.
The ticket booth and the two shade structures needed for the bus depot were placed well in advance of the first day of operation. However, our benches and bike racks were not put in place for us again this year.
For the second year in a row, participants used the shuttle service less than the previous year. Participants are apparently doing a better job of bringing everything they need, or else finding it in Black Rock City. The main reason people left the city on the bus was to make a single phone call from one of the pay phones in Gerlach.
The volunteers who showed up to help operate the ticket booth were outstanding again in 2006. Extra thanks to those who committed by email in advance and then showed up for their assigned shifts.
This year we had more no-show volunteers than ever before. When this happens, the day manager has to round up volunteers from the Playa Info area —which usually means volunteers from the previous shift have to stay longer. And getting help on the spot is a hit-and-miss proposition. If a shift volunteer cannot be found, the day manager must cover the entire three-hour shift. This occurred a few times in 2006, putting an additional burden on the managers.