Connector ‘running as usual’ following attention-grabbing Capitol Hill protest

Tuesday's SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

Tuesday’s SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

After a surprise anti-gentrification protest blocked the buses for a short time to start the work week, Seattle Police cruisers were on hand Tuesday near Microsoft Connector stops on Capitol Hill.

The Connector system is running as usual, a company spokesperson told CHS Tuesday.

The police presence came after two protesters unfurled a banner and handed out flyers Monday morning while blocking the corporate shuttles — and a few public buses — on Bellevue at Pine. “The Microsoft Connector bus is an active agent in the hyper-gentrification of Capitol HIll and other rapidly transforming Seattle neighborhoods,” the flyers read.

The Microsoft Connector includes 22 routes with 74 busses total in the Puget Sound region. Around 250 passengers ride each day from Capitol Hill to Redmond/Bellevue. Those busses average about 70% capacity, according to the company. In total, the Connector serves about 3,000 people per day. According to Microsoft, 65% of those who ride the connector drove to work alone prior to the system’s availability.

In San Francisco, protests against corporate shuttle systems have grown into a significant political issue and occasional public safety threat. So far, Seattle’s incident seems more like a well calculated publicity stunt. The attention it generated has been significant — for example, Monday’s visitor total for CHS was the second highest daily total in the last 12 months and the post was linked to from sites including the Seattle Times, New York Times, Cnet, The Verge and the SF Chronicle, to name a few. “Google bus” protests spread to Seattle, the Chronicle headlined their take on the incident. We shall see.

(Image: Tides of Flame)

(Image: Tides of Flame)

Meanwhile, as the Microsoft transportation system appeared to not miss a beat on Tuesday, another protest action targeted a different tech giant and changing Seattle neighborhood. “Train blockaded at Amazon HQ,” boasted this post at the Tides of Flame site explaining that the latest protest targeted the Seattle-based online retail and services company for its work with the Central Intelligence Agency. “This new data cloud will help the CIA coordinate their massacres, assassinations, and terrorism across the planet,” the unidentified protesters wrote.

Two days of anti-corporate protest activities with similar MOs might have you wondering what’s next.

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13 thoughts on “Connector ‘running as usual’ following attention-grabbing Capitol Hill protest

  1. Is this serious? Aren’t these protesters the same folks that protest in favor of density above all else? Without Microsoft and Amazon, this area would have experienced a bigger recession, but the protesters are probably too young to remember the last big economic downturn here. These people have too much time on their hands.

  2. “Two days of anti-corporate protest activities with similar MOs might have you wondering what’s next.”

    It actually has me wondering when these losers will get a life and get their own jobs, and stop begrudging other people the decent jobs they worked hard to get and keep. People with a life of their own don’t have time for stupid shit like this.

  3. So….if I get a good paying job at Amazon or Microsoft, shame on me for doing well? And i can’t live on Capitol Hill?

    What a bunch of f*ucking MORONs! Maybe if these idiots spent time trying to do better for themselves they might actually get somewhere in life….

  4. Two protesters get attention from the NY Times etc.. If this were right wingers getting attention on Fox, we liberals would be right on top of the fake news media using a trivial incident as an excuse to promote a biased political agenda. But two anarchist protesters? Totally different. Must be the start of a Significant Political Movement, right?

    Looks like truthiness has taken over all sides of the political spectrum. Fox wins — it’s just a matter of what riles you up and gets you to pay attention. Too bad to see the Capitol Hill Blog hopping on board this bandwagon.

    • I agree that the stunt was/is ridiculous, but blaming CHS for it? This is a blog and as such it gets traffic. I appreciate CHS telling the truth about how much attention this got. You know the old saw, don’t shoot the messenger. Oh, and this probably got a lot of attention because “Tides of Flame” has resurrected after all this time. That sure got my attention. And not in a good way…

  5. Protesters, I think that it’s fine if you stand on the sidewalk with a sign and express your opinion. I don’t think it’s OK if you restrict the movement of others as they are just trying to go about their day. Nobody has more of a right than anybody else to live on the Hill.

  6. The flashpoint issue in SF is that the corporate buses are illegally using public bus stops, delaying mass transit for everyone else. To the best of my knowledge, that doesn’t happen here (does it?). I understand that gentrification concerns underly these protests, but I’d rather have MS employees living and spending money in the city than elsewhere. What we need is some form of rent control and a more robust workforce housing program.

    • The Connector Stops are city-approved and do not use Metro stops. They often use adjacent loading zones to Metro stops which might give one the impression they are using the stop itself.

      That said, the bus stops argument in SF was BS, it was always about “you make more than me and you drive up my rent, and your company allows you to easily live where I want to”. I never saw any hard data on the corporate buses blocking Muni from keeping schedule.

      If anything, Metro should be offering the usage of bus stops to MS and Amazon. Both companies offer free ORCA cards to all employees which essentially infuses cash into the transit system, and in parallel provide routes that Metro doesn’t, to get even more people into transit.

      It’s not like Metro pays rent for every bus stop and they’re occupied with a bus 24 hours per day. Having 1 more route stop there 5-6 times per day isn’t going to rock the world.

      • Well said! I get a free ORCA card from MS myself, though as a contractor I can’t use the MS Connector. But it’s all good because FTEs use the Connector, which frees up seats on the regular Sound buses. So the MS Connector is a win-win for everyone.
        I agree with the other commenters…these pseudo-anarchists need to get a life and understand the infrastructure they enjoy is paid for by 9-5 workers like me. There would be no Capitol Hill without our tax dollars and the money we regularly drop on local businesses. Seattle didn’t feel the hardest brunt of the Great Recession thanks to Amazon, MS, and the like.

  7. If they were blocking my bus (if I took a bus), I would kindly remove them so that they were no longer doing so. Problem solved.

    Sorry, anarchists, but this boy needs to get to work!