2/3vt, some random diesel coach assigned to avoid construction near new library
I relieve the other driver at 1:44 pm as scheduled and proceed northbound on 3 Ave. Just as I pull out from the zone at 3/Pike, I see a line of motorcycle police proceeding westbound on Pine Street. The bus in front of me stops and I pull in behind him. It's 1:53 pm
And that's that. We've just seen the front end of Seattle's piece of today's global antiwar march pass by. Once it becomes apparent that police aren't going to make breaks in the march to pass motor traffic, I shut down and explain it to passengers of varying irateness. One woman is going to work, dammit, and she has rights too, dammit, and what are the police going to do about this, dammit? I shrug and tell her what I'm going to do about it. Nothing.
Some people get off. Others get on and ask me when I'll be leaving. Beats me.
There's a supersupervisor walking around with a nameplate describing him as an operations chief, making suggestions to the drivers about what to do when/if we get clear. I note his suggestions, but they quickly become irrelevant. I announce that it is greatly unlikely that I will be going to Queen Anne, even if the parade disperses immediately, and most everyone gets off.
A couple people walk by telling me that there's only one more block worh of people. Unfortunately, they can't see around the corner where the people are coming from.
Eventually, everyone leaves except for a sleeper. I kick that person off, and now I'm empty and have freedom of action.
I start a stopwatch and count people. I get about 350/minute. I sit there for 84 minutes which works out to 29600 people. Round it to 30000. Then I look at my run card and play a game of "If the march ended now, where would I go to get back on track?"
At 3:17, the tail end of the parade. I put in a call to the control center which is propmtly ignored due to heavy traffic. I determined that I could zoom to 23/Union, inbound, and leave there on schedule at 3:32 pm, so with destination signs blanked, I proceed a-zoomin'. (Normally, I would ask a coordinator what to do. But, no answer yet.)
I get to 23/Union on time, and start inbound. Everything is fine, although I see 4 outbound #2 coaches in about 5 minutes. When I get to 3/Union, there is a massive crowd of protestors ready to go home. I load as many as I can, and announce that I'd like to give priority to people who actually need the #2 rather than just taking any random northbound bus. Apparently, I'm the first northbound #2 they've seen. A few people actually do get off to make room. This amazes me.
We proceed to Pike St. The hundred people there look pretty disappointed that I'm so full. I repeat the previous announcement, and again we reach some sort of equilbrium. I end up leaving some people behind at every stop through to 1 N/Mercer.
I crack jokes all the way out. This also amazes me. I also tell people that I will not be charging fares. I don't have time, and I don't want to wait for that one person in the back to crawl past the 100+ people between them and the front door. Really, it's not worth it. I just hope that if anyone calls in a commendation or complaint that they don't mention that :-)
I get to the end of the line just as I would be pulling out on my next trip. I make a bathroom stop (first time in 3 hours) and zoom back into town. I get a pretty good load, as I seem to be the first #2 in quite a while. People wonder why the busses are screwed up. Some of those people are carrying "NO IRAQ WAR" signs. Sorry, folks, but if Scotty could beam the busses past crowds, we wouldn't need busses at all...
After that, it's just driving around.