JLF Triangle Blog

Safer Than A Giant Sugary Soda?

It’s called “slugging” and I admit this is the first time I’ve heard of it.  It involves drivers picking up strangers so the car can use the HOV lane. As described in this story about how it’s done in a few cities across the U.S., the driver picks up total strangers at designated “slugging” stops and they drive – evidently in silence – to the destination. Sounds like a great system on paper — but I can’t believe anyone would actually CHOOSE to do this. To me “slugging” is a problem waiting to happen. NYC Mayor Bloomberg, however, is telling people to form a carpool now that he’s imposed a three-person rule on the bridges into Manhattan. I’m just wondering if someone will ask the mayor if he thinks “slugging” is safer than a giant sugary soda drink.

New Yorkers will have to resolve one of the great moral quandaries of slugging: whether to split the bridge toll. After San Francisco established a $2.50 toll for the carpool lane in 2010, the Chronicle interviewed three dozen drivers and riders and found the carpools have three competing philosophies: “those who pay a share of the toll—usually $1—no matter what, those who pay only when asked and those who refuse to contribute.”

The New York Daily News features a column by a young woman forced to try this to get into Manhattan. I understand that natural disaster forces you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do, but oh my.


One Response to “Safer Than A Giant Sugary Soda?”

  • Nov

    Actually slugging works quite well. I lived in Houston and have family in DC that slug all the time. The key factor is one person kidnapping or killing, etc. a slug would ruin the whole system, so no one does it. Kind of an inverse trust system. In DC, for example, my aunt lives in Alexandria and she’ll show up @ a bus stop area, wait for a driver to call out K Street or Pentagon or wherever a standard dropoff point might be and people hop in. Some call out smoker or talker or whatever and smokers will hop in those cars.
    Over time, you end up seeing the same sluggers and those folks quite often develop friendships and such; there’s way more talking than you’d think.
    With Houston requiring +1 for HOV and DC requiring +2 (+3 from Bloomberg is simply nuts BTW), drivers are desperate to pick up sluggers to avoid the huge traffic jams the HOV cities present. The system simply works.

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