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.