Mon 25 Mar 2019

Should there be a fee for vehicles at Nest yet?

Simon Edwards Public Seen by 195

Context - How the conversation started and where it has got to

This conversation was initiated by Simon 'Cheese'. Initial comment posted at the bottom of this Context. Anyone can edit this Context to keep it up to date.

Simon raised a concern about the fact that the core team have been discussing the implementation of a new vehicle pass charge of £10.

Several community members raised concerns around this, particularly considering those who are on a low income, have accessibility requirements or are bringing art/camps, etc.

Siren responded on behalf of the Core Team to outline that the new vehicle pass was proposed to reduce the number of cars on site, increase car sharing and reduce environmental impact, increase funding for art grants and to ensure we have a buffer for next year's event which may be larger than this year's.

Responses to this include suggestions that if there is financial requirement, that this should be attained through higher ticket prices overall and that any vehicle pass charge should have been made clear at the point of ticket sales.

At this point, proposals have been raised to implement the charge, but to exempt those with low income tickets, those with accessibility requirements and those bringing art/theme-camps.

The current plan is to continue the conversation here on Loomio and make a decision at the community meeting this Sunday.

Simon's Initial Comment

OK, so let's try out Loomio for something....
Last year we didn't have any charges for vehicles at Nest. My understanding is that the Core team would like to introduce a charge for vehicles this year.
My question is, to what end? If it's to reduce the number of vehicles (in the way BM's vehicle pass fee is) then I don't think that's particularly relevant (yet) for Nest as we don't have too many vehicles for the space or an Exodus issue.
The attendee numbers and site/size is the same as last year. I know we did back in Wales but there was much more limited parking there. And the train station was a LOT closer - public transport to the Nest site involves quite a taxi ride.
I'm not sure what any money taken for vehicles would be used for.
What does everyone else think?


[deactivated account] Tue 26 Mar 2019

the vehicle pass thing is a real pain. ive already bought a low income ticket, and hadnt factored in any extra money for paying for the car. train fare is way too expensive for me, and tbh, having the days off work is enough of a financial issue as it is. if vehicles were going to be charged for then this should have been announced when memberships were sold, otherwise its a hidden cost. last year having a vehicle allowed us to bring loads of our camp equipment and buy food locally on the day we arrived rather than carry it from other side of the country. i also brought two burners with me, so the car was used efficiently. i think most burners car share, so it's not like people are being unnecessarily wasteful. sorry to sound grumpy, but it would be a pretty major issue for me!


Simon Edwards Tue 26 Mar 2019

For what it's worth @bekimo , I completely agree and think a lot of people will car share. We've already found people to come with us in our vehicle. I think introducing a charge late in the game is a bit unfair to those who have already bought a membership and weren't aware this could happen. It will be interesting to hear the rationale behind the thinking.


[deactivated account] Tue 26 Mar 2019

thanks. do you know when a decision is being made?


Simon Edwards Tue 26 Mar 2019

I think there's a core team meeting tonight (I'm not core, FYI) so it may well get discussed then. But my understanding is that this has already been set up on the website, just not live yet. I hope that someone in the core team at least comments in here first to explain before just launching this.
If nothing else, it'll be hard to police. I'll be arriving long before gate opens so not sure there would be anyone to check my vehicle. And I can't see someone patrolling the site and checking all vehicles have some kind of badge in the window...


Hilda Breakspear Tue 26 Mar 2019

Were parking space a problem, then a vehicle charge might encourage car pooling, or use of alternative forms of transport. However, given that there is still plenty of room for cars, an extra charge would appear to the wider community as just a clumsy money making exercise. Given the distance from London, many people will already be planning to share transport to save on petrol money. A better way of protecting the event's carbon footprint would be to arrange coaches from major cities (not sure if this is already a thing or not). I'm struggling to find any positive argument for this proposal.


Simon Edwards Tue 26 Mar 2019

Again, agree with everything you've said. I've put on a coach service (I'm not core, just saw a need that no-one was fulfilling) which I'll be publishing details of later today (waiting for Nest to officially publicize it too).


Claire McAllen Wed 27 Mar 2019

This feels like something that will become a privilege.

Those who have money and can afford to will be able pay for parking will be able to bring a car and those who are poorer and can't afford parking one will be excluded.

From my own perspective I have fibromyalgia, I get DLA but I don't have a blue badge as I do not get higher level DLA.

I live on a very low income but rely heavily on my vehicle to make accessing services easier.

I am already at the mercy of having to pay to park just to be able to utilise services others are able to use.

Have you considered that charging for parking will cause those with a low income to be excluded from the festival?


Simon Edwards Wed 27 Mar 2019

Tagging @ionasteen - for comment about inclusion


[deactivated account] Wed 27 Mar 2019

Please don’t add car parking fees this year, as I’ve already bought my membership, and I haven’t budgeted for a parking pass. If you bring in the charge next year so you can purchase it alongside a membership upfront would be more ethical I think. I’m coming to the gathering on a shoestring budget, so the thought there might be more charges, is making me sweat


Lexy Thu 28 Mar 2019

"And the train station was a LOT closer - public transport to the Nest site involves quite a taxi ride."

For information - The nearest train station is 6 miles away from the site (Newton Abbot) which is a 10 minute taxi ride, or a there is a bus (X46) which literally drops off at the end of the driveway / entrance to event (approx 30 minutes journey total).

There are also National Express coaches to Newton Abbot also as well as trains, to provide more affordable options.

As I understand, the proposed price is £10 per car.

I definitely agree that if this does happen then inclusion and accessibility needs should be taken into account definitely.


Siren Thu 28 Mar 2019

Hi everyone!!! Your Friendly Winged Demon Messenger from the Core Team here... with an epic response.

So, to respond to this question on behalf of Nest team… We’ve had various discussions over the weeks about vehicle passes and been through many many loops...

Yes, we agree, this should have been added as an option when buying your ticket. We will absolutely make sure to do that next year.

There are lots of reasons for bringing back the car parking charge this year:

  • We initially introduced the vehicle pass originally due to the limit for car parking on our old site. While we do have more space on the current site, we do still want to keep car use and parking to a minimum.

  • Vehicle passes encourage car-sharing improving environmental impact of the festival in line with our Principles.

  • Nest doesn’t happen in annual isolation. What we do this year impacts next year, and so on. Vehicle passes have been built into the 2019 budget as expected income. It’s a necessary income to support two key priorities for this year and beyond:

1) Providing 30% more funds for Art grants to support more ambitious art structures and experiences, such as the temple and effigy

2) Build a larger financial buffer for next year so that we can look to increase participant numbers beyond 500. The impact of increasing numbers means we have a disproportionate financial break even point forecasted for next year, due to licensing events of over 500 participants: 500+ is more expensive licensing and insurance. In short: If we want to grow and be inclusive to more people, then we need to have more money in the bank to sustain the inclusion.

If the community doesn’t want us to charge for parking this year the budget for next year will be cut, since art grants have already been allocated for this year. That means the loss of income would have to come out of the buffer for next year which presents a bigger risk to next year’s budget. Ultimately if we don’t collect enough revenue this year, it may force us to put up membership prices up further next year.

  • Vehicle passes are a very common thing for Burn events. At Burning Man, there is a yearly charge of roughly $80 for a vehicle pass. Obviously, the pressure put on the environment by cars there is much larger. We are looking to charge only £10 per car. Blue badge holders will be exempt from the charge as we recognise cars are an access need for some people.

  • Movement of vehicles around the site last year caused us something of a safety concern as the road was also being used by people walking from free camp to camps. So the fewer cars on site the better. From another security perspective, having clearly displayed vehicle passes means we can identify which cars should and should not be on site.

Core team think this is a great discussion to be having on Loomio, where the entire community can make the decision, based on the information above as well as individual feelings. if the community decides we don’t want vehicle passes, then we will remove them from the budget. However, it’s important that everyone understands the rationale and the trade-offs as mentioned above.

Let's continue the conversation on Loomio and make a final decision at the next community event on 7th April.
Love love
~ S ~


Simon Edwards Thu 28 Mar 2019

Thanks, Siren.
I think at least it should be considered that those who bought Low Income tickets should be exempt from this year too, to respond to the points above from others.
I think just reducing vehicles won't particularly address vehicles on the road through site and the safety issue there - especially as it's a steep hill with a blind spot. I'd hope another solution would present here although there will need to be vehicles using it (I will for striking art on the last day at a minimum)
If passes are supposed to be displayed, has it been considered what would happen if you found a vehicle without one?
The vehicle pass for BM isn't "yearly" - it's the same as Nest, for a singular event.
I believe the main reason it was introduced was to help combat Exodus / Entry queues, which is a problem unique to BM really. They have no space issues, kind of like Nest for now. Yes, it does promote car sharing and they have a more serious LNT issue with numbers of vehicles too.
I guess it's might also be worth considering that for many, bringing a vehicle is a necessity to transport infrastructure, art work, etc.


Siren Thu 28 Mar 2019

All really good points, and i will take this back to core team. Thank you! :)


Charlotte Davis Thu 28 Mar 2019

I don't think £10 is too steep for a car or campervan pass, personally, and I think this is a good way to raise fund as a buffer for next year. However, I do feel there should be some consideration for vehicles bringing art/theme camps to Nest - it seems unfair (from the perspective of a camp that will be hiring at least two vans, at not inconsiderable personal expense, to bring entertainment to Nest), to have to pay additional fees for the van itself.


Paul Phare Fri 29 Mar 2019

I'm trying to think of circumstances where someone who owns and runs a car might also be on a low income. Agree that people bring art and building camps should be exempt


Simon Edwards Fri 29 Mar 2019

Perhaps those above can also comment on this point about low income. Speaking personally as someone who was once unemployed for 2.5 years and on Job Seekers Allowance with NO income I still had a car and didn't feel obliged to sell it or make it SORN. In fact it was highly useful in trying to find jobs and go to interviews. If I'd read the above comment I would probably have not felt welcome at Nest because I think I'd have felt guilty in attending and I shouldn't have been spending money on an event like that because my funds should be going on more "important" things.
Are we checking if someone owns and runs a car as part of qualifying for Low Income tickets?


Charlotte Davis Fri 29 Mar 2019

Agreeing with Simon here - outside of London, a car is essential, and I don’t think it should be taken into account for low-income means testing. Personally, coming from Bristol, for example, is much cheaper by car than by train, especially considering the amount of stuff each person has to bring to be self-sufficient for a week.


Lexy Fri 29 Mar 2019

Agree 100%. I don't think we should be judging anyone's low income status on whether they own and run a car, these two things should not be connected.

If someone has a LI ticket or self identifies as having accessibility issues then I think we should give them a free car parking permit, no questions asked.

And this should not just be based on 'blue badge'. There are plenty of folks who might not qualify for blue badge, but may not physically and/or mentally be able to take 2 trains, and walk for buses etc. Especially as Charlotte said, when camping for a week and being self sufficient.


[deactivated account] Sat 30 Mar 2019

Blimey. I travel for two hours each day to go to a job outside of London that pays about 20p an hour above minimum wage. I work about 25 hours a week, and am also paying London rent and student fees. Grants aren't available for my course, the job is my only income. I leave the house at 5.30am and return at 10pm. A car is the only way I would be able to do this journey. I'm not here to bitch and complain about life, and tbh, I find it a little strange to be disclosing this stuff on the internet, but I do find this comment a little odd, although I'm hoping it wasn't meant in such a way!


Paul Phare Fri 29 Mar 2019

Okay for the sake of a gesture to inclusion, I just don't think it will make much of a difference to anyone and people on low income still need to consider their environmental impact


Claire McAllen Fri 29 Mar 2019

People have a hierarchy of needs and these are different for everyone.

Before someone can address their environmental impact they need to address their basic needs.

For people with mobility issues threes are things like being able to access the event, have food, water and a safe space where they know they will be able to fully engage in the event or leave at any point because of health issues. All of these things are very important requirements that need to be considered before even deciding to come to the event.

And the reason for this is that people with health issues have to maintain that health in very stressful physical situations.

At both burns I have attended at Nest I needed medical care.

Many people with mobility issues on low incomes rely on having a vehicle to get the basics they need and attend hospital appointments.

Being able to address environmental impact is the privilege of people who have their basic needs met.

This doesn't mean that those on a low income do not address environmental impact, just that many of the ways to address it cost more money, money they don't have.

Attending an event like Nest is a huge expenditure, and involves as you know, far more than the ticket price and the travel costs.

But people choose to attend even though they do not have the finances because of the benefit of the community.

I have said it before but I will emphasise if again, radical self reliance is based on privilege. The privilege to buy the gear you need, to have food and water delivered, or bought at a supermarket. To have transport to take you there, money to buy outfits.

None of it is actually your own hard work, unless you grew the food your self, or wove the fabrics, or built your bus or car.

You bought the goods and someone else made them for you, made it possible for you and all you had to do was throw money at it and then talk about environmental impact.

Completely forgetting the impact you have on the lives of the people in poorer countries who work them selves to death working long hours for pittance or die smuggling illegal drugs into the UK that you use with abandon.

If you can judge those who are poorer for using cars that they rely on and need, that impact on the environment you firstly need to address the consequences of your own excess.


Paul Phare Fri 29 Mar 2019

Nobody was suggesting a means test, low income tickets are issued on trust. Nor was it being suggested that people who own cars shouldn't get a low income ticket. I'm questioning whether it's worth making such a policy if there is no need for it given the extra admin. Anyway it's a discussion so if everyone is in favour of making it a policy then we'll do it


[deactivated account] Fri 29 Mar 2019

How about a compromise, £10 vehicle pass and £5 for those on the inclusion rate, families bringing children under 17 free and those attending who are differently abled, also free? Just an idea


Alex Macklen Sat 30 Mar 2019

I have a real problem with this.

A car pass is a random tax on the members of the community. Why not pick a random selection of members and say, hey now you owe us 10 quid? Equally unfair, guaranteed to enrage. People own cars for all sorts of reasons many good examples in this discussion. Owning a car makes you considerably poorer, but sometimes essential to a job or quality of life. This event cannot exist without lots of us driving stuff and people there.
The community pays a ticket price that is set so the people who can afford to, assist the people who don't have the means to buy a ticket. I'm good with this.

If the Nest community wants to have more funds, add it to the ticket price. It's shared equally across the community and not some entirely arbitrary subsection. (Ah I see you own a car you must be rich, give us money)
There cannot be a worse example for the introduction of car passes than the Burning Man. Their car pass has been the biggest money grab in festival ticketing history. From $10 to $100 in a few years. Who does BM without access to a car? Who goes to BM or Nest for that matter on their own? I had the entire camps gear and a lift share in both directions.

So in answer to the core teams points:
If you want to know if a car is allowed tell people to print out their tickets in the window or give them a small sticker at gate.
If you don't want cars driving about then put 2 bales of hay and a No Entry sign in the way.
If you want more money, charge more for the tickets.

Fair and simple. Running these events is complicated enough without making the whole process subtly unfair and complicated.


Paul Phare Sun 7 Apr 2019

As stated by Siren above, we had a discussion at the community meeting today on car parking. There were four proposals made. These were:
1. scrap parking charges this year
2. charge £10 per car except for people on low income and bringing camps
3. Put an additional charge on remaining tickets sales
4. Ask people bringing cars to donate £20 (also suggested sliding scale from £10 to £30)
Option 4 was the most popular choice and will be implimented this year.
We have been asked to review whether to charge for car parking next year.


[deactivated account] Sun 7 Apr 2019

So is the sliding scale option going to be included in the decision?


Paul Phare Sun 7 Apr 2019

I think it's a good idea. I'm running it by the finance team


Hilda Breakspear Sun 7 Apr 2019

That is NOT my understanding of option 4. As far as I was aware, it was to ask all ticket holders to make a voluntary donation of £20, and specifically NOT just car drivers as it was felt it was unfair to just target them.

How did other people there interpret this?


Lexy Sun 7 Apr 2019

Yes I agree this was my understanding of 4. Also that it was to make it a general £20 suggested donation (and not related to car parking).

The "sliding scale" was not discussed in the main meeting and was not part of what was voted on.

It could be worded as "Suggested donation of £20, or any extra contributions welcome."

Remember also that many people have already either made explicit donations or bought more expensive ticket types too.


Hilda Breakspear Sun 7 Apr 2019

Yes, agree that sliding scale wasn't discussed or voted on. Just a voluntary donation of £20 from every ticket holder.


Alex Macklen Sun 7 Apr 2019

Yes, it was my understanding not to target the car drivers this year and to pay a voluntary contribution towards finances for future Nest's.