King County Metro adds buses as Amazon summer interns flood the city

King County Metro electric bus
Amazon’s summer intern program brings thousands of students to the city every summer, putting strain on the transit system. (King County Metro Transit Photo)

Summer has finally reached Seattle: The sun is out, the water is less chilly, and thanks to Amazon’s summer intern program, the city just grew by about 2,000 people.

That’s the estimate thrown out by The Seattle Times. Amazon isn’t disclosing how many interns were hired this summer but the number is high enough to cause King County Metro a bit of a headache.

Times reporter David Gutman first noted the influx of interns, sporting their signature Amazon backpacks and crowding Route 70, one of the county’s busiest bus lines. It runs from the University of Washington campus, where 900 Amazon interns are staying for the summer, to downtown Seattle via Amazon’s campus in South Lake Union.

UW’s temporary residents only comprise a fraction of the total interns that will be working out of Amazon’s downtown headquarters this summer. To accommodate them, King County Metro added two busses to route 70 on Wednesday following reports of overcrowding, according to the Times.

King County Metro did not immediately respond to GeekWire’s inquiries about the added buses.

The additions could be part of a larger route expansion announced in March, intended to accommodate bus lines, like the 70, that serve South Lake Union. The Metro Department is increasing bus service to cope with Seattle’s rapidly-growing population, driven in part by Amazon adding jobs at a break-neck pace.

Despite the additions, the blistering pace of growth in Seattle can still overwhelm the transit system. In the Times’ piece, some riders reported seeing up to six buses whiz by their stops without picking anyone up because they were overcrowded.