By Tammy Lesueur
As a longtime Burning Man participant, I know planning arrival and departure is something we all talk about and try to time. Yes, time. No one wants to be stuck waiting in line for hours. Some of us may shudder thinking back to 2013 when a predicted thunderstorm led to the entire Black Rock City population trying to leave all at the same time. People were stuck in the Exodus line for hours.
Over 90% of 2015 Burning Man participants came on playa via some sort of transportation through the Gate. This is not surprising since you must have a ticket to enter Black Rock City. Six percent decided to use the Burner Express or Shuttle.
Looking at this graph, you can see the peak arrival time is Sunday. Again this is not surprising because the event officially starts on Sunday. The graph does point out heavy traffic and longer wait times indeed happen Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I will give the Burning Man Organization credit for streamlining the process: now that you can arrive earlier on Sunday, the time spent in line waiting to get through the gate has shortened. I don’t know the average wait times to sit in line in traffic, but for my group personally, it was one the shortest we had in 10 years.
We saw the same pattern with leaving Black Rock City. Exodus times in the past could range from an hour to more than five hours. Referring to the above graph, you can see peak days to leave are Sunday and Monday. It is interesting to note arrival times seem to be a little more spread out over the course of four days, whereas exodus is compacted into two days with 35% of the population leaving at the same time. My guess is we all have to get back to work by Tuesday.
While the data aren’t as detailed as showing the best time of day or night to enter or leave Black Rock City, it may be a question for a future Census. We’ve tried all different times of the day and night with varying results.
If you have input about how your arrival or exodus went, let us know by leaving a comment.