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Outside lands traffic: Stalled robotaxis, bus delays, surge pricing make for long road home

Crowds leave Day 1 of Outside Lands 2023 in San Francisco on Friday night. Long waits for buses and expensive ride-shares plagued the festival yet again, and driverless cars stalled in the road and added to the traffic. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

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 ride-shares, 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.

San Francisco Police officers put up a road closed sign after two Cruise cars got stuck on 30th Avenue following Day 1 of Outside Lands in San Francisco on Friday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

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 ride-shares such as Uber and Lyft were two blocks up 30th Avenue.

Vendors lined the street, selling hot dogs, beverages and bike rides.

People look at a Cruise car stuck on 30th Avenue after Day 1 of Outside Lands on Friday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

Outside Lands attendees taking ride-shares faced surge prices ranging from $50 to $150, as well as hourlong 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.

Avi Jain waits for his ride-share, which costs $50 for a 10-minute ride after Day 1 of Outside Lands 2023 in San Francisco on Friday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

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.

People wait for the 5-Fulton Muni bus after Day 1 of Outside Lands 2023 in San Francisco on Friday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

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.