Thursday, April 26, 2012

Markets in Everything: Slugging Goes Digital

Slugging to work? There's an app for that.
The "slugs" (pictured above) are part of the informal Washington, D.C.-area commuting phenomenon in which drivers heading into the city pick up riders ("slugs") along Interstate 95 so they can take the faster, 3-person, high-occupancy lanes.  Here's a website,, with more information. 

The Washington Examiner reports today that "Slug lines are moving into the virtual age":

"Technology is helping companies and the government drag carpools -- and Washington's commuting slug lines -- into the 21st century. A new concept -- called real-time ridesharing -- allows riders to use a smartphone app to find all the drivers already heading their way and ask for a ride in exchange for gas money. And instead of handing over cash, riders can pay drivers online through one of the new websites targeting the commuter market., due to launch in the D.C. area this year, will use the new carpool techniques in combination with a website that lets riders and drivers view the other's online profile to help them choose people with whom they can share the commute."


At 4/26/2012 5:12 PM, Blogger kmg said...

A carjacker's paradise, this idea is.

At 4/26/2012 5:19 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

kmg beat me to it. This doesn't seem very safe.

At 4/26/2012 5:47 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

ya'll are dead on but the interesting thing about slugging is that it's pretty much non-govt in it's inception and operation except for the govt-financed commuter lots that these casual carpools operate.

Most DC area workers have "badges" they wear and at each commuter lot, there are folks who know each other and know "about" others...

there's been talk of having the govt "certify" people much like a company would with it's badge systems.

Keep in mind that the vast, vast number of people who work in the DC area are govt employees OR govt contractors OR businesses that directly rely on Gov or Contractor business.

what the folks carpool for is the HOV3 carpool lanes but big changes are about to happen. The "free" carpool lanes are about to be converted to HOT (congestion-priced) lanes.

They changed the name recently to "express lanes".

The HOV3 will still be free but there is a concern that allowing solo drivers (who will pay) into the HOV lanes might become so popular as to put pressure on reducing/restricting the numbers of HOV3 (free) cars.

but the concept might work just about anywhere IF.. the drive and he passenger could be certified/verified/screened to protect people from the scumballs.

At 4/26/2012 6:15 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Car Pool Lane

At 4/26/2012 6:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...


"kmg beat me to it. This doesn't seem very safe."

Gee, I dunno. None of those people in the picture look very dangerous, besides, that's why we carry that Glock 40.

At 4/26/2012 6:43 PM, Blogger PeterK said...

Actually a very safe method. self policing. going into DC slugs are picked up at various park and ride lots located near I-95, coming out slugs are located in areas wherever one can be seen. I didn't use it but knew many who did.

DC government tried several years back to ban slugs and sluglines, but they were defeated. this shows what the public can do that the government can't

At 4/26/2012 6:48 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

helps with going "postal" too, eh?

carrying "heat" would go badly for you at the Pentagon...Quantico, and other govt facilities.

At 4/26/2012 7:34 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I dunno, Ron H.

The lady in the mud coloured skirt looks like she might be a highly trained assassin, no?

glock :)

I used to have one.

At 4/26/2012 8:28 PM, Blogger Henry H said...

A rapist's dream. A website to locate the youngest and pretty internet chicks to pick up, use google or facebook to find their pictures, assault, murder, and make another fake email address.

At 4/26/2012 8:43 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/26/2012 8:54 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

I was not aware that slugging also occurs in other locales.

At 4/26/2012 8:58 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

For those unfamiliar with the tradition of slugging in the DC area, it's been going on for 37 years now, since 1975! During that time, I don't think there have any carjacking, rapes, etc., it seems very, very safe. Your chances of getting robbed or assualted are probably much, much greater as a rider on the DC Metro than as a passenger/slug.

At 4/26/2012 9:07 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/26/2012 9:11 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Sorry, Mark. I didn't know that about slugging. Come to think of it, in Moscow, we just flag down private cars as people are happy to earn a little cash by providing taxi services and that's never been a problem either. I guess I've always been very cautious and I'm wary of strangers.

(I saw your first comment. Again - sorry. Didn't mean to pick).

At 4/26/2012 9:18 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Methinks: I toned down my first comment after I realized you had left a comment. I value your contributions to the blog, and don't include you in the trolling "nattering nabobs of negativism" who constantly "pick nits" with every post. Thanks for your valuable input, I apologize for my first comment.....

At 4/26/2012 9:54 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Thank you, Mark. I was not offended, rather I was afraid I might have contributed to your understandable frustration.

At 4/26/2012 11:24 PM, Blogger Ken said...

carrying "heat" would go badly for you at the Pentagon...Quantico, and other govt facilities.

Not as badly as the average person might think. Pretty much no one is armed inside the buildings. If a person decided to carry a weapon into work no one will stop them or even know. Those with security badges (all regular employees) are not checked by security.

Nidal Hasan killed 13 and he's still alive. You know why? Clinton, the gun grabber's gun grabber, banned gun carry on all military installations.

Amal Qazi killed three at the guard entrance to the CIA and got away, getting caught three years later. You know why he wasn't killed at the CIA? No guns allowed.

Attacking federal employees at work is one of the safest things to do, since by federal law, no federal employee can carry a gun to protect themselves; the long term effects aren't so good, but if you want to kill a lot of people with as little resistance as possible, a federal building is a good target. This includes places like the Pentagon and Quantico. Anyone who has been in the military or worked with/for the federal government in the last twenty years or has had close contact with knows this.

The reality is that the hard part is getting in. If you're an employee at any of these places you're expected to be there. No one will search you. There are no metal detectors (they are for visitors), no bag checks, no pat downs, nothing. You just flash a badge and walk right in. If you want to take a gun in and shoot the place up, the main limitation is how much ammo you've got.

Eventually people will arrive to stop you, but you'll have plenty of time till they show up.

At 4/27/2012 9:00 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

People voluntarily finding solutions to their commuting problem by cooperating?

We cannot allow this to continue.

Here is why.

a) Revenues for the Metro and other public transportation workers goes down when people collaborate/cooperate - so public sector workers hurt.
b) Tax revenues from reduced usage of fossil fuels hurts local government (never mind what else may happen)
c) People are finding solutions by themselves without the elites inside the Beltway coming up with solutions - they may find out other things they can do without the elites' help
d) People may find that they enjoy each others' company and make friends - that helps with societal cohesion and growth - so people will clamor less for the elites to come up with social engineering solutions.

See? There is nothing positive about slugging. All it will do is hurt the public sector and the elites. We cannot have that.

Time for DC and the surrounding states to pass a law banning Slugging and people using their own grey matter to solve their own problems.

At 4/27/2012 9:13 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

it's sorta funny you mention that because casual carpooling and wide open unregulated taxi service have similarities.

I always wonder about liability with casual carpooling.

It's one of the big problems with transit.

We have a ton of private commuter vans in exurban Va outside of DC but the the reality is most if not all of them rely on a state-provided liability plan.

without that plan.. there's a question about whether those vans would be financially viable.

If you pick up 3 casual carpool folks and have horrible accident, it could conceivably ruin you financially if your insurance was inadequate - which makes me wonder how many have actually got upgraded policies or if they could even afford to buy them.

always a fly in the ointment, eh?

At 4/27/2012 2:06 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"3-person, high-occupancy lanes"...

Hmmm, wouldn't a couple of inflatable dolls be safer?

At 4/27/2012 2:08 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

....but for the modern day gendarmes..... who frown on such shenanigans...

At 4/27/2012 9:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Curb Your Enthusiasm - Car Pool Lane"

LOL Thanks.

Markets in everything?


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