What’s slugging?

28 Nov

I first heard the term “slugging” when I was taking a commuter survey for work. One of the choices of transportation—along with car, Metro, walk and bike—was slugging. I had no idea what it was so I asked my all-knowing coworker. Slugging, it turns out, is when drivers pick up other commuters at designated “slug lines” so that they can take advantage of HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles) lanes, including I-66,  during rush hour.

After learning about this casual carpooling, my first thought was, “People actually do this? Like on a twice-a-day basis?” Well, turns out they do. And the website Slug-Lines.com is really well organized—there are signs that you can print out to put on your car window saying where you’re going. There’s even a lost and found! Slugging occurs in other parts of the country, but it’s biggest in the DC and Northern Virginia area.

What I find particularly great about slugging is that there’s strictly followed etiquette. If you’re the slug, for example, you cannot initiate conversation. If the driver wants to talk than that’s one thing, otherwise you just ignore each other except for saying “thank you” at the end of the trip. And no money is exchanged since both parties benefit from the arrangement.

While there is no cell in my body that has any interest in commuting this way, I certainly appreciate the creativity and cooperation behind it!

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