Pre-Thanksgiving-snowstorm postscript: Were you on the 54?

(Shared by a WSB’er during November 2010 snow woes)
Almost half a year has passed since our one notable night of snow last fall/winter. It may be long gone, but not forgotten by some, as evidenced by this note we received and were asked to share:

I need your help. Forgive the dates as this is pretty old but I am having a little trouble at work. I am a Metro bus driver and during the fall shakeup we were hit with the storm that snarled traffic for hours on 11/22/2010. I was driving the 54 leaving 3rd and Pike @ 418p. Four and half hours later we arrived safely at The Junction.

Months later I was notified at work an automobile driver says I hit her car that night. That was a very strange night but our little group developed quite a camaraderie battling the elements and the traffic on our trip over the Duwamish River. The bus was packed and there was a man with a smart phone standing/sitting in the front stairwell checking traffic on the various aerials we tried to get to the first south bridge. We told jokes, took potty breaks, zigzagged through SODO, all the while avoiding the gridlock on the 1st Ave South.

I hope to locate this individual or anyone else on the bus that verify my contention we struck no other cars that night.

Phillip Blake
Metro ID 5290

17 Replies to "Pre-Thanksgiving-snowstorm postscript: Were you on the 54?"

  • SeaChanty51 May 10, 2011 (7:24 am)

    Good luck, Phillip…I hope your passengers step up to help you clear your name!!

  • oh brother! May 10, 2011 (9:29 am)

    Good luck Phillip! Hope a rider comes forward to help. But, I can’t help wonder if putting such detail of “play” on the bus during a huge snow storm is going to hold you in good light with your bosses? I, personally, wish more Metro drivers were personable, but….

    • WSB May 10, 2011 (9:31 am)

      The 54 happenings were all chronicled in comments here. I don’t have time to go back and look up the specifics but the 568-comment thread from the story that originally showcased the above photo included some of the updates. – TR

  • Katie May 10, 2011 (9:40 am)

    Oh Brother!- What “play” should the driver worry about getting in trouble over? Joking with his passengers? Letting them use the restroom over the course of four and a half hours? Sounds like the driver made the best of a bad situation and took great care of his passengers…

  • Elizagrace May 10, 2011 (9:50 am)

    In a huge snowstorm I would only hope that the people who were stuck in it with me were in good spirits and telling jokes, keeping it light.
    I can only imagine how much more painful that would be if everyone on the bus were all in pissy moods.

    Thank you Phillip for keeping it light for your riders.
    I hope your managers recognize that as a high level of customer service.

  • defenestrator May 10, 2011 (9:54 am)

    MONTHS later they finally contacted someone about that? I may be missing something, but wouldn’t the proper response from Metro at that point be a polite version of “tough luck”? I don’t get it.

  • cmc May 10, 2011 (10:30 am)

    C’mon “oh brother” lighten up!! Seriously?! I feel bad that this bus driver is having to deal with this…. sounds like he did a great job that evening. Good luck, Phillip!

  • lpierce May 10, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    I was on a bus to West Seattle that night. The time is about right, but can’t remember which bus I was on…as I regularly take the 55, 54, 54X, 21 or 21X (whatever comes first).
    The situation also sounds right as there was a man with his cell navigating there in the front stairwell.
    The clincher…was your daughter sitting on the floor next to you? My bus driver’s daughter was on that bus and ended up sitting on the floor next to him.
    If that was you…we DID NOT hit a car or anything else that night! And it was the best disaster bus ride I could ever hope for!!!

  • amalia May 10, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    lpierce, can you call him directly?

    Phillip Blake
    Metro ID 5290

  • Phillip Blake May 10, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    lpierce – you were on my bus. That was not my daughter but the daughter of a good friend. Could you email me this statement please? You can reach me at If you are uncomfortable contacting me directly please call customer service and relate the events, include your name, and I can take your customer service comments with me to my re-read. Thank you so much for standing up for me.

  • Phillip Blake May 10, 2011 (2:05 pm)

    Dear laurakistan,

    Comment by laurakistan — November 22, 10 8:17 pm #

    420 54 bus – Survived the bus gauntlet! 4 hours and 7 minutes and now home. Thanked Phillip the bus driver profusely for being such a good driver and keeping us safe. And he still has quite a ways to go. Thank you, Phillip.

    Thank you for such kind comments. I do remember laughing about the Pemco ad “first snowflake freakout lady” we saw on the side of another bus in SODO. If you could send your comments to me @ my email address I would appreciate it. My email is and again thank you very much!

  • jsrekd May 10, 2011 (2:13 pm)

    I love the WSB!

  • amalia May 10, 2011 (2:33 pm)

    That was one crazy night. I hope this story has a happy ending.

  • Kara May 10, 2011 (2:40 pm)

    If it wasn’t for my amazing bus driver I would have lost my mind on my 9 hour commute home. The passengers and driver talked, joked, gave us potty breaks…she was a champ!! So much so that I wrote Metro to tell them how great she was!
    I still talk to friends that I made that night on the ride home. It was a bad situation that no one was prepared for and its bus drivers like Phillip that make it better. PLAY ON!!

  • heatherF May 10, 2011 (5:23 pm)

    Good luck, Phillip! I was on an earlier 54 bus that day but am thankful that our driver also did a great job. Metro drivers put up with a lot of crap from riders. We should all thank them for getting us to our destinations safely!

  • MindDriver May 10, 2011 (6:20 pm)

    ONLY 4 1/2 hours? That’s some impressive driving by Philip. Glad you got some corroboration there.

  • cmc May 10, 2011 (8:13 pm)

    Hooray for lpierce! :)

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