I had a recent conversation with my table at a wedding about the concept of slugging, which made me think it could make for a good post on this site.
Slugging, sometimes called casual car-pooling, is more like organized hitch-hiking. In cities with HOV lanes, which will hopefully include Columbus someday, queues of passengers develop at bus stops near freeway ramps. Drivers who need extra passengers stop, pick up a couple of strangers, and everybody gets a faster ride to their destination. The system is described on Slug-Lines.com, a site dedicated to slugging in the DC area:
The system of slugging is quite simple. A car needing additional passengers to meet the required 3- person high occupancy vehicle (HOV) minimum pulls up to one of the known slug lines. The driver usually positions the car so that the slugs are on the passenger side. The driver either displays a sign with the destination or simply lowers the passenger window, to call out the destination, such as “Pentagon,” “L’Enfant Plaza,” or “14th& New York.” The slugs first in line for that particular destination then hop into the car, normally confirming the destination, and off they go.
No money is exchanged because of the mutual benefit: the car driver needs riders just as much as the slugs need a ride. Each party needs the other in order to survive. Normally, there is no conversation unless initiated by the driver; usually the only words exchanged are “Thank you” as the driver drops off the slugs at the destination.
The rules and etiquette of slugging are also interesting and will answer a lot of FAQs that are bound to come up. The name “slugging” is apparently related to the fake coins called slugs and was coined by bus drivers who would stop for passengers at a stop, but would be waved off by these “fake” passengers who were actually waiting to slug.
You may have also seen a less organized variation of slugging on Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry David picks up a hooker to get to the Dodger game faster.
Has anyone reading this been a slug before? Any interesting stories? If Columbus ever had HOV lanes, would you consider slugging or does that just seem a little too dangerous for our conservative Midwestern values?