Stranded passengers left at homeless shelter

Stranded passengers left at homeless shelter
Stranded passengers wander the Seattle Center on Sunday night as police arrive to help sort out the situation.
SEATTLE -- After a day stuck in a downtown bus terminal, Greyhound officials took a load of stranded passengers to a homeless shelter at the Seattle Center, but officials there turned the passengers away because the shelter does not take children.

That left families, kids and at least one pregnant woman outside on the Seattle Center property in sub-freezing temperatures Sunday night as Seattle police arrived and tried to sort out what happened and what to do with the dozens of people who were out in the cold.

Officers quickly whisked away the kids and took them to a shelter on Third Avenue to get them out of the cold.

The passengers who were dropped off said Greyhound officials decided to take them to the Seattle Center because the company had run out of food and water at the terminal, where many passengers have been stranded and sleeping on cardboard after bus runs were cancelled due to heavy snow.

Some passengers in the terminal Sunday had been stuck there for days hoping to catch a bus.

Greyhound Lines spokesman Eric Wesley said the company coordinated with Seattle police to move the passengers to the shelter.

But the scene at Seattle Center late Sunday was a mass of confusion as the crowd of stranded passengers shouted questions to a police sergeant who said the department was scrambling to assist with shelter for the night but that he could not speak for the situation between the customers and Greyhound.

The sergeant told the frustrated passengers that he'd gone to the Greyhound station but found the building closed and locked.

Julie Borden has been trying to get home for Christmas in Vancouver, B.C. after visiting her parents in Wyoming and found herself stuck at the Greyhound station in Seattle when her bus connection was cancelled due to the weather.

"They were feeding us two meals a day, trying to do the best they can, and they said they were going to put us in a shelter because buses were going to be down for the next couple days," Borden said, adding that Greyhound officials promised to pick them back up as soon as the buses were running again.

"They said there was going to beds, cots for us and blankets, and then they just kind of dropped us off here and apparently Salvation Army doesn't know anything about what's going on."

Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt said Greyhound Lines did contact the department and a police lieutenant made arrangements with the shelter to take some stranded passengers, but because the shelter could not accept children they had to turn the group away when they arrived.

Witt said the city bus Greyhound used to bring the passengers to the Seattle Center was still there when the group was told they would not be allowed in the shelter with their kids, but the driver drove away.