Some things about Outside Lands will never change, like the epic struggle to get home once the show is over.
Long wait times for buses and rideshares, event surge pricing and heavy traffic can make the San Francisco festival a nightmare to leave. This year, stalled autonomous vehicles and Muni delays added to the chaos.
Muni delays caused the first 5-Fulton bus to arrive just before 10 p.m., resulting in a bulging crowd and a frenzy of people trying to board the bus. For those who weren’t taking public transit, pickup points for rideshares such as Uber and Lyft were two blocks up 30th Avenue.
Vendors lined the street, selling hot dogs, beverages and bike rides.
Outside Lands attendees taking rideshares faced surge prices ranging from $50 to $150, as well as hour-long waits, for rides that normally would take no more than 15 minutes.
With just one of the festival’s three days complete, some concertgoers said they would try public transit on Saturday instead.
“We’re going to try to do the bus tomorrow,” Jayden Grino said. “We’re going to test it out, see how it goes, and if it goes more smoothly than this, then we’ll probably take the bus again” Sunday.
Those who elected to go home in robotaxis faced some frustrations as well. Two Cruise cars stalled on Balboa Street, with another pair stranded on 30th Avenue––adding to traffic for other cars trying to get in and out of the area.
Only one of the Cruises appeared to have passengers in it, but they got out as San Francisco Police officers attempted to move the car to the side of the road.
Officer Edric Talusan successfully took control of one Cruise, but after driving it away from traffic, he failed to gain control of the other vehicles. This resulted in a road closure on 30th Avenue between Balboa and Anza streets.
A Cruise spokesperson acknowledged that one vehicle was moved by police and said that “wireless connectivity issues” caused delayed communication with the company’s cars.
“We are actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again and apologize to those impacted,” the spokesperson said.
Mobile phone reception is notoriously spotty during Outside Lands as the large influx of concertgoers overwhelms cellular systems’ capacity.