In & Out Hub
The In & Out Hub is responsible for all entry and exit operations at YOUtopia. Our functions begin pre-event with ticket processing and transportation layout, and grows in responsibility and complexity on-site with the operation of the gate, parking lots, and transportation system.
This year’s In & Out Hub Lead was Matthew “HazMatt” Gale. The main responsibility of the In & Out Hub lead is to have the overall vision for the Hub’s operations, then support and empower their department leads to see it realized. This is done through planning meetings, information dissemination (interdepartmental as well as to other hubs), finding resources and team members that they need to run their departments with ease and efficacy. The hub lead can also serve as the intermediary between department leads and other hubs.
There are 5 departments within the In & Out Hub:
1. Ticketing & Will Call (Led by Sam) Ticketing ensures you have adulted properly by acquiring a ticket, parking pass and have left your dog, cat, or small farm animals at home. These are also the folks who’ll ask you to fill out and sign innumerable forms waiving your rights to your life, including but not limited to your house, pet gerbil, and second cousin. The Ticketing Department accepts compliments and bribes, although they’ll still need to see your ticket before they’ll give you a wristband to enter YOUtopia.
2. Gate & Entry (Led by Paisley and Ubiquitous) The gate is the department that first welcomes you into YOUtopia with a bit of harassment and a skeptical look. While ransacking vehicles and herding scatter-brained burners, Gate team ensures a smooth entrance for all participants. They work with Greeters, Ticketing, and City Planning to help people reach their desired destination. Critical thinking and communication skills are a must.
3. Greeters (Led by JMo and Merms) The Greeters department welcomes participants into YOUtopia, while making sure they know where they’re going, providing answers to questions about the event, and giving everyone a good hug at your request. Greeters, working with Wolf Pack and Please Department, also create signage, event décor, and general flair for the event.
4. Road Warriors (Led by Chris and Nomad) The Road Warriors handle traffic flow and parking to make sure we can all fit comfortably in the event. Working closely with City Planning, Road Warriors have a good handle on mapping out how exactly to fit all the cars, RVs, and other vehicles into the event with style and grace. They’ll also kindly ask you to “move or be moved” if you find yourself parked in the wrong area.
5. Transpo & DMV (Led by Raul and Richard) Transpo operates the event shuttles serving the off-site parking lot and within the event grounds. The Department of Mutant Vehicle division approves and licenses art cars to help cruise participants around YOUtopia in style, The Transportation crew keeps it moving.
All departments within the In & Out Hub did an absolutely incredible job overall this year. The amount of praise bestowed amongst departments for each other and from participants has been enormously high. The following are but a few of the things that went really well:
1. Entry and Shuttle wait times. Wait times never seemed to exceed just over 15 minutes for either the gate or the shuttles, with an average of under 10 minutes. This was fantastic and highly regarded by the participants entering.
2. Printed Tickets. Printed tickets actually ended up working well and accelerated gate and ticketing departments processing times.
3. One Way Roads. The one way roads assisted in keeping the traffic flowing well and safely. A little more reinforcement will help but overall it continued to be a success.
4. Rockstars. A few dedicated leads or volunteers worked their asses off. Whenever there was a problem, there were a few people from each department that would consistently step up and handle it.
5. Proper Planning and Practice Prevents Poor Performance. Building upon the successes from last year, there were not monumental changes to the In & Out Hub this year but tweaks that allowed us to do a better job overall. Extensive planning at meetings between departments in the hub helped to foster an atmosphere of cooperation, team building, and expectation management.
There are several changes that have been identified to improve the overall efficiency in operation of the In & Out Hub, the following are some of the more critical challenges and their solutions that have been identified by multiple departments:
1. Wrist bands and scanners. This year they did not arrive until Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning. These need to be on site by Tuesday without delay to begin checking in people on-site at that time.
2. RVs. The RV passes need to be changed to reflect the specific area that RV is authorized for (Hookup or non-hookup). RVs going to the hookup area need a City Planning or Road Warrior stationed in that area to guide them to their designated location.
3. Signage / Parking Lot & Event Grounds. Visibility of signage (while increased from last year) are still lacking for participants looking for the gate entrance or the parking lot entrance (after leaving the grounds) Increased lighting for night operations are especially needed.
4. Traffic Ops within the grounds. Increased cross-training between Road Warriors, Waldos, and Communications personnel to be sure that the information given out is correct and to avoid confusion from participants. Be sure that fire lanes are being kept clear at all times when people stop for directions. Add road directional arrows both on roads and on the event map.
5. Exodus. More information made available to volunteer staff and on the website about exodus and where to pick up shuttles to the parking lot from. Many walk all the way to the gate which is not a shuttle stop. Utility carts made more available to transportation during exodus and any available volunteers without current duties should assist in exodus operations.
6. Volunteers. We had problems getting sufficient volunteers pre-event for mainly Road Warriors, and there were still a significant enough number of no-shows for their scheduled shifts across departments. More recruiting efforts earlier on, along with training earlier I believe could help, along with being sure to have a “black list” that is shared across all departments fully each year.
7. Reinventing SOPs / Previous materials absent / Admin files not available across teams and hubs. This is especially a problem for new leads where confusion can exist about how to effectively manage their department without more guidance or information available about what parts of the production were the responsibility of which department. Previous years we have had access to more materials across departments, and in the future we need to establish clear procedural criteria for each department for success, and allow leads to concentrate on operations and team management.