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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Oct 1, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

SLUGGING IT OUT IN TRAFFIC In the Virginia suburbs near Washington DC, commuters have taken to picking up strangers in order to take advantage of the state's HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes. Some cities have even established pick-up spots, where commuters can go to find potential carpoolers seeking a mutual destination. In Virginia, they call the one-time carpoolers "slugs" - a term purportedly coined by Virginia bus drivers, since "slugs" congregate at certain bus stops, but really don't want the bus (hence, they are "fake" bus passengers). Slug pick-up spots are not unlike the day-worker pick-up spots that grace most Home Depot stores. For commuters, slugging means not being tied to the same commuting schedule every day. With regular carpooling, partners must adhere to a strict schedule and call fellow carpoolers on any days you can't make it (doctor's appointment, etc.). Sluggers have no such obligations, since they can be carpooling with a different driver every day. Moreover, it costs the slugger nothing, since drivers are more than eager to pick up the requisite number of passengers to qualify for carpool lane access. The long-term savings in transportation expenses to sluggers is enormous. If any city is in need of slugging, it's Los Angeles. As the population in the City of Angels continues to grow, so will traffic congestion. The municipal benefit to slugging is that it'll decrease the number of cars on the freeways. One location that is ideal for starting a slug pick-up spot is the entrance to the Eastbound 10 carpool lane off of Alameda Boulevard, just north of the freeway and just south of Los Angeles Union Station. That carpool lane requires three occupants per vehicle. Commuters who take Metrorail into the city from San Gabriel Valley can be the prime candidates to slug their way back to the Valley. So, what are we waiting for? We have a new mayor. Support from the City and its planners will certainly go a long way to making this a reality. Los Angelenos, let's get it started.

- Roy Nakano This piece comes courtesy of our LA Car Blog.

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