2008 had to be one of the dustiest years in Burning Man history! But it did not deter the efforts of the Bus Depot and its staff to sell tickets to those needing a ride back into Gerlach or Empire, and provide valuable playa information (i.e. “where is the closest porta-potty?”). In fact, based on our centralized location at 6 o’clock and the Wheel in Center Camp, we became much more than just a ticket sales location. By selecting knowledgeable and friendly troops to staff our post, we became a focal contact point for the lost and wandering. We became a beacon at the crossroads, so to speak.
That dusty little war-torn shack that has provided joy to so many for the last nine years was in all its glory in 2008. The Placement project manager cleaned and scoured the depot building, providing us with a comfortable place to work, and relocated our depot personnel directly across the street at the newly formed Bus Depot staff camp. The hardy DPW crew set up shade structures, bike racks, and benches for our needy travelers. We were also provided with new and quite visible signage to keep potential riders informed about what to expect if they ventured from the playa.
The Bus Depot would not exist were it not for the commitment of our invaluable bio-diesel bus vendor and their well-mannered and conscientious staff, with whom it is extremely easy and pleasing to work.
Once again volunteers were in abundance, and most shifts were manned by two or three Burners. There were only two no-shows all week, and there always seemed to be someone willing to work an extra shift because it’s fun. Thanks to all the Bus Depot volunteers!
After years of keeping our bus fare unchanged, in light of dwindling riders and rising vendor charges, it was time to increase our tickets from $5 to $10. We continue to re-evaluate this service, including using smaller coaches, but that would prevent participants from transporting large items like bicycles. We are also considering reducing the frequency of runs (currently they are hourly) due to decreasing demand.
In addition to Burning Man’s shuttles to neighboring towns, two bio-diesel bus non-profits provided coordinated service between Reno/Tahoe International Airport and Black Rock City’s bus stop in 2008. To facilitate this effort, the Burning Man Project provided these groups with in-and-out passes. If this service returns in 2009, and we hope it does, we will be prepared with full schedule information at our depot.
We look forward once again to seeing our great volunteers, and new faces at Burning Man 2009!
Jim Wierzba aka jimmy….the kid