The shuttle bus to was a complete success again in 2005, the sixth year of offering transport service from Black Rock City to downtown Gerlach and the Empire General Store. Operating protocols and set-up have been about the same for the last few years, and the team seems to have it down.
As usual, the Department of Public Works (DPW) took care of all structures, including shade for the ticket booth and the Bus Stop area. The ticket booth was located on the ring road around Center Camp, close behind Playa Info, where it is easy for anyone to find. The Bus Stop itself is right across the street, so the bus drivers can see what’s going on at the ticket booth.
The round trip bus ride takes 2 hours, and buses leave Black Rock City every hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. starting Wednesday during the event and running through Saturday. The last bus Saturday leaves at 3 p.m. and returns at 5 p.m. Again in 2005, the buses ran on time throughout the week. The drivers provided friendly and helpful service, and many of the passengers honestly seemed to enjoy the trip.
Volunteers did outstanding work again this year. Each year, more shifts are filled with people who have volunteered in past years. They come to have fun, and it’s an infectious experience.
A few volunteers were “no-shows” in 2005. Two people receive assignments for each shift, so if one does not show, one person is present until Playa Info can wrangle a recruit (usually within 30 minutes). This year, a pair who had signed up together did not show, so the manager had to staff the ticket booth and use the radio to communicate the need to Playa Info. Within minutes, a young man arrived who was so eager and happy to be volunteering for the Man that he swore he would sign up to do it again every year. A lesson learned from this initial disappointment is that people who express interest in volunteering for a shift should not be encouraged to find friends or campmates to volunteer with them. If one noshows, the other likely won’t show, either. The Bus Depot volunteer schedule has always filled up prior to the event. Matching up single volunteers for the two slots in each shift helps to assure that at least one will show. Most people want to meet someone new, anyway.