Slugging it in DC
December 16, 2003 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Are you now, or have you ever been, a Slug? Slugging -- a kind of spontaneous car-pooling -- is an interesting (but not new!) commuting trend in Metro DC and Northern Virginia.
posted by anastasiav (22 comments total)
Yes, we have that in the East Bay of California, only they don't call it "slugging." Once I was picked up as a "slug" by some people heading to the bridge to San Francisco. I was surprised to discover that the code of ride-sharing means you're not supposed to talk to the people you're with.
posted by inksyndicate at 8:31 AM on December 16, 2003

We talked about this last year, but a search wouldn't have found it - and the page seems broken, anyway - so you're forgiven. ;) I only remembered it because it's such a cool community development!
posted by Marquis at 8:32 AM on December 16, 2003

When NOVA changed from HOV2 to HOV3, did it impact slug line usage?
posted by machaus at 8:36 AM on December 16, 2003

The slugs' tales found to be "sluggish". "No talking"? are they French.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:45 AM on December 16, 2003

Used to do this all the time in the SF East Bay for a couple of years - here are some observations:

a) The majority of people waiting for rides were women. Didn't expect this, but then perhaps having 3 or more per car provided safety in numbers. Except that 2 people in a 2 seater met the carpool requirement, and I had a 2 seater, but nobody ever refused a ride from me.

b) Going to work was easy to do, but it was much tougher coming back. I take it most took public transportation back.

c) There was an unwritten "no talking" rule, but I tried to break that whenever possible. Had varying degrees of success, and met a few very interesting people in the process.

d) Everyone was forced to listen to my selection of radio and music. Ha!
posted by laz-e-boy at 8:53 AM on December 16, 2003

Started slugging a decade ago... These days I mostly pick up. We have organized slugging at my job -- you can request a ride on an email alias and get picked up rather than having to hold your thumb out at the bus stop...
posted by daver at 8:55 AM on December 16, 2003

I lived in DC for a few years, and the slug lines amazed me when I moved there. I always figured that if we had them here in L.A. they'd be called the Serial Killer Victim Line.
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:30 AM on December 16, 2003

I've never been I slug, I must admit.

But - as a human, I might be likened to a Fruiting slime mould
posted by troutfishing at 9:35 AM on December 16, 2003

Fruiting slime mould

Great link trout! Totally offtopic - but totally fascinating - I always wondered how these molds worked... I watched a bunch of the animations.
posted by ao4047 at 9:56 AM on December 16, 2003

Well I am a Slug, a Banana Slug actually as I graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz where the mascot is this rather gross four to six inch bright yellow slug (and no, I have no idea why they choose the banana slug either).

But as a new way to carpool, it sounds like a cool idea. Sort of life the single rider line at amusement parks.

My way around the need to slug is to ride my motorcycle as almost all of the Bay Area HOV lanes exempt bikers.
posted by fenriq at 10:13 AM on December 16, 2003

Fenriq: I'm a slug of the same ilk: here's some history on how the mascot developed.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 10:20 AM on December 16, 2003

A good way to go into San Francisco, as noted, not a great way to get out. The risks and rewards seem pretty obvious, but I'm glad slugging was an option, considering how freakin' expensive BART was.
posted by whoshotwho at 10:27 AM on December 16, 2003

The ethics of slugging [NYT Reg required] addressed by The Ethicist in this week's NYT Magazine.
posted by donovan at 1:07 PM on December 16, 2003

Slugging (never heard the term before though) is popular here on the Microsoft campus, where the highway from Redmond to Seattle is always packed, and the HOV lane requires 3 people. When my husband and I first moved here, we were waiting for a bus on the MS campus when a car pulled up and offered us a ride for this very reason. We had to say no, we were new in town and intentionally wanted to take the bus to learn the bus route to our 'hood.
posted by GaelFC at 1:42 PM on December 16, 2003

no, but I listen to Slug.
posted by robotrock at 2:10 PM on December 16, 2003

I've gotten picked up waiting for a bus on Little River Turnpike by someone wanting to HOV it. I thought it was because I was a hell of a guy.

Now I find out I'm a slug.

Oh, the humanity and all the passengers...
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 4:52 PM on December 16, 2003

Hmm... and I've written a program called Slug...
posted by dmd at 5:16 PM on December 16, 2003

Nifty, new term--thanks. While this isn't exactly slugging, the Hasidic Rebel wrote an interesting entry on the issue of what music selections to play or not while transporting hasidic hitchhikers. Who knew?
posted by lobakgo at 5:39 PM on December 16, 2003

Oh, I thought you meant these slugs.

Never mind.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:37 PM on December 16, 2003

whoshotwho, unfortunately the bart still is expensive and getting more expensive by the day (that's 20 bucks a month more for me to put it at $122 a month...fuckin aye i wish i was back in boston as public transit here sucks by comparison). I'm eventually going to break down and try the commute through the ride-share at north berkeley, but i figure this would be a good time to ask that people post some local sites
posted by NGnerd at 7:40 PM on December 16, 2003

It should be noted that probably the only thing in common between the Washington area and the Bay Area is that both rail transit systems charge distance-based fares, making getting around much more expensive than, say, New York, Philadelphia, or even Los Angeles.
posted by calwatch at 11:03 PM on December 16, 2003

This happens all the time here in Houston for people to ride the HOV lanes...

Because you need to have a certain number of people in your car to ride the HOV at certain times, drivers will pick up willing "slugs" that wait around at the park-and-rides holding signs.
posted by LoopSouth at 7:31 AM on December 18, 2003

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