During yesterday’s rush hour a sheriff’s deputy shot a Link passenger after a fare enforcement officer escorted him off the train at Sodo, and the passenger allegedly drew a handgun.
The incident and subsequent investigation diverted all buses off the Sodo busway. The scene split Link into two segments with a bus bridge operating between the two for about four hours. According to ST spokesman Bruce Gray, the call to start the bus bridge was at 4:47, about 20 min after they got notice to hold trains. I’m guessing that’s when it was clear that police were not going to allow single tracking through the scene.”
Mr. Gray noted that getting the bus bridge started during the evening rush is “tricky” given that Metro has few spare operators or buses. Nevertheless, 8 buses ran between Stadium and Beacon Hill for 4 hours. He also said “there was quite a bit of discussion” about running trains nonstop through Sodo, which would obviously have been operationally simpler and more efficient for passengers. ST defers to the police in these cases, who decided against having passengers ride right by a crime scene with a body on the platform for about two hours.
Fare enforcement, though routine, is also somewhat dangerous. At the same time, it’s far better that the enforcement falls on a trained security professional than a driver with numerous other responsibilities and skills.
Discussion of guns, police use of force, and general criminal pathologies are off topic for this post.