By Plane, Train and Bus: Hundreds of Thousands Flock to DC for March

Social media also floods with images of passengers aboard other flights en route to the Women's March on Washington

Marchers by the hundreds of thousands flocked to Washington, D.C., by train, bus and plane for the Women's March on Washington Saturday. 

A city official said the turnout estimate for the Women's March on the National Mall hit 500,000 people—more than double the initial predictions.

There were early signs across Washington that Saturday's crowds could top those that gathered on Friday to watch President Donald Trump's inauguration.

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One of those marchers, Jamaine Cripe said she and about 700 other demonstrators packed a South Orange, New Jersey, train station parking lot at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, waiting to be loaded onto buses. 

Cripe, a religious educator who turns 46 Saturday, said the process went off without a hitch. 

"Getting on the bus was a breeze," Cripe said. "We were on the road in 10 minutes." 

Ashley Judd recited a spoken-word poem written by Nina, a 19-year-old woman in Tennessee, at the Women’s March in Washington, DC, on Jan. 21.

In New York, the demand for bus tickets caused delays on Greyhound buses destined for the march. 

A total of 18 extra Greyhound buses were added to the 3:45 a.m. schedule, but the short notice meant some buses didn't get drivers on time. A Greyhound spokeswoman said the buses left by 6:30 a.m. and there were no further delays. Demonstrators said there were postponements on Peter Pan as well. The bus company didn't respond to a call seeking comment.

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In Maryland, Rose Wurm got on her bus at 7 a.m. in Hagerstown, ready for the ride to Washington. 

The 64-year-old retired medical secretary from Bedford, Pennsylvania, carried two signs. One asks President Donald Trump to stop tweeting. Another asks him to fix ex-President Barack Obama's health care law, rather than get rid of it.

Michael Moore spoke at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, with a dual message of the accomplishment at the number of people who were in attendance — hundreds of thousands across the city — and of resistance towards the Trump presidency.

Cripe and Wurm were riding two of the roughly 1,800 buses that registered to park in Washington on Saturday. That translated into nearly 100,000 people coming for the march just by bus.

One company had buses coming from more than 200 cities in 26 states. It was using school buses to bring people to the march from Maryland.

In the air, a Southwest flight full of women flying to Washington lit up with pink lights in the cabin in apparent solidarity with the passengers. 

"When your Southwest flight crew celebrate a plane full of kicka-- women and men going to the Women's March by lighting it up!! #lit #womensmarchonwashington #lovetrumpshate," passenger Krystal Parrish wrote on Instagram with a picture of the light pink hues. 

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In a statement, Southwest Airlines said the lighting was not a company-wide initiative, but that crews on flights sometimes adjust lighting based on passengers aboard. 

"Some of our aircraft are equipped with mood lighting and while this was not a company-wide initiative, at times, our flight crews will adjust the lighting for a customer or group of customers traveling on their flight," the statement said. "For example, in October, one of our Flight Crews changed the lighting to honor a breast cancer survivor on board their flight."

A passenger on a flight from Chicago to Baltimore Thursday called the light adjustment was a welcome surprise. 

Gloria Steinem spoke at the Women’s March in Washington, DC, amidst a foggy sky and thousands of people wearing pink hats. “This is the upside of the downside,” she said gesturing to the crowd. “This is an outpouring of energy and democracy like I have never seen in my very long life.”

"It was unexpected and unannounced," passenger Jennifer Moran told NBC in an email. "There was no announcement explicitly from the staff and no one screamed this is for the march. Nothing, just spontaneous and everyone knew exactly why they were cheering."

By early Saturday morning dozens of others had shared photos and videos on social media showing passengers celebrating en route to the march.

In one video posted to Twitter, a flight attendant was heard welcoming passengers to Baltimore and requesting a round of applause for all the "nasty women" attending the March on Washington. She then reminded them to stay hydrated and to remember that "we don't take no ish from no man."

In another video clip, a passenger aboard an Air Canada flight from Toronto asked who else was going to the march, which prompted a loud, cheering affirmation. 

On another flight from Chicago to Washington Friday night, Carissa Remitz, 37, said that she was surprised by cheers while boarding.

"I was thinking - a lot of women on this plane," she said.

A Southwest flight attendant asked how many were headed to the march and it seemed like nearly everyone, Remitz said.

Image uploaded from iOS1
Carissa Remitz
A flight that departed to Chicago Friday night was full of people headed to the women's march in Washington.

"Nobody was in a hurry to get off," she said. "Everyone was grinning ear to ear." 

On the rails, the Washington Metro was flooded by the crowds of marchers. 

More people rode the transit system Saturday than rode to Trump's inauguration. 

By 2 p.m., an estimated 275,000 riders had swiped into Metro, compared to just 193,000 who rode on the day of Trump's inauguration. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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