The Exodus team coordinates and facilitates the departure of tens of thousands of Burning Man participants from Black Rock City on a single two-lane road. The Exodus team is responsible for ensuring a safe and timely trip off the playa, as well as giving all our beloved citizens their final farewell for the year.
2006 was a challenging year for Exodus, both for participants leaving the city, and for the Exodus Team in helping people leave the playa as efficiently as possible. The main issue in 2006 was that the bulk of participants left on Monday afternoon, even though the Project has cautioned against this for years. It seems that perhaps too many years of a relatively smooth exit created over-confidence, so many participants chose not to heed the advice.
An additional problem was that people were skipping to the head of the line by entering the queue in the wrong place, which left those at the back of the line waiting even longer. Unfortunately the Exodus Team did not learn of this in time to effectively resolve the issue. The Exodus Team is taking steps to avoid this situation in the future, and create better ways to deal with it if it does happen. A final challenge was that just weeks before the event some unforeseen personnel issues, as well as an illness, resulted in an understaffed team on-playa.
The most important thing is that despite these challenges, everyone got out of the city safety. Furthermore, the Exodus Team learned valuable lessons and is implementing new procedures for 2007. The Exodus Team is going to increase awareness this year to deter participants from leaving on Monday afternoon. Anyone who does not heed this advice should be prepared to wait several hours to get off playa. The best time to leave is before the Monday rush. Participants staying after this time are encouraged to assist with cleanup efforts for a few hours, rather than spending that time waiting in line. New procedures will also decrease the number of participants cutting in line. However, the team is also asking for more courtesy from the community because even when fully staffed, Exodus does not have the ability to police every intersection.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Exodus tips in the spring of 2007, and help the team help you have a good ending to a great event.