If you’ve had business to attend to planetside, and can’t or don’t want to pay for a private transport to the vertshuttle terminal, you don’t have many options. The distances involved–as well as the complete absence of safe options for foot transit–put walking beyond question. “Public transport”, such as it used to be, doesn’t really exist now. Though, that said, this centralised urban node for awaiting pickup (by whichever scheduled collective transportation company has the monopoly in this area) does look suspiciously like a bus stop.

Much like a bus stop, it’s gross. Much like a bus stop, the electronic display is fucking broken. Much like a bus stop, if there is a timetable of pickups by the company, it’s so disconnected from reality as to resemble a quasi-familiar set of glyphs with no bearing on events in the physical world. And much like a bus stop, without public investment, and with a single transport company operating without competition in a highly protected market, there is simply no incentive for anybody to resolve any of those things.

Very likely, in a place like this, there’s some local property owner with one or two automated ground vehicles that they use to act as subcontractors for the uninterested transportation company. Very likely, in a place like this, the route from the centre of “town” to the vershuttle terminal is of low priority, as it’s not the kind of place where people have the money to be upsold on any of the additional perks in the vehicle (heating, entertainment, motion sickness drugs for the vertshuttle). Thom would reckon too that this local Bus Baron would be the sort who could pay for insurance against the instant smartphone-based low-value lawsuits that individuals (mostly those of Thom’s class) are expected to use to settle small disagreements–so there’s no way to get any compensation for being made to wait.

So, Thom waits in the cold, with no real idea of how long it’ll be until he’s able to get to the terminal, get onto a vertshuttle and make his way through the Dock ‘n’ Drop back to the Angel Fish. With any luck, it won’t be so long that his pay gets sanctioned.