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From Detroit, I headed to St Louis, via Columbus, Ohio, where the Greyhound would hit Route 66. My 20-minute stopover in Columbus was where a picture began to form of what Greyhound travel looks like today. The bus station consisted of a parking garage the size of a small airplane hangar. At both ends, electric doors opened and closed when a bus entered or exited. Between the two bus lanes sat a small concrete island where passengers were disgorged. There was a chemical toilet, no drinking fountain, very few seats and no windows. The air was choked with exhaust. A police van was parked at one end of the tunnel and armed policemen stood against a wall facing us.

If you had commissioned an urban planner to design the most hostile, uncomfortable and unhealthy environment for passengers, this would be the result. I guess this is what you get when you travel in a seat costing $35 as opposed to a $200 plane ticket or in a car with a full tank of gas.

My next bus was scheduled to leave for St Louis – a mere 530-mile trip – at 3.00pm. I looked around at my fellow island-dwellers: an elderly man with four large zip-up bags printed with “Patient Belongings”; a couple travelling with a large fluffy blanket propped up against the Porta-Potti as a makeshift bed; a mother and her teenage son carrying large cardboard boxes. The sign on the empty Greyhound kiosk read: “As of 25 January 2023 – you will need photo ID to buy tickets.” Yet another barrier between those with little money, no fixed address, no car, no passport or credit card and their ability to travel