However you measure it, Amazon’s impact on Seattle is indisputable. Here’s a new metric: summer interns. Amazon has so many that King County Metro has adjusted bus service just for them.
At 8:18 Wednesday morning 23 people with identical black backpacks — fold-over top, metallic buckle, five leather zipper pulls, water-bottle sleeve — boarded a Route 70 bus at the University of Washington.
Eight minutes later 13 more people with the same backpack boarded another 70 bus.
At 8:40, 21 matching backpack-carriers got on the 70, and at 8:42 15 more.
At 8:55, two number 70 buses arrived at the same time and both were swamped with people carrying the black backpack — too many to count, both buses packed to the gills.
Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, CenturyLink, Kemper Development Co., Sabey Corp., Seattle Children’s hospital and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.
Each one of those backpacks also had one more identifying characteristic, a small tan arc with an arrow on the right pointing upward — the Amazon Smile.
Each of Amazon’s summer interns this year received the same backpack.
From booming jobs to gentrification, from omnipresent cranes to housing shortages, there’s any number of ways to measure how Amazon’s presence has reshaped Seattle. But here’s another one: Amazon’s summer interns — just the interns — can overwhelm bus routes in the city, causing King County Metro to send more buses to accommodate them.
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