Another meaning for the term "slug line
" is fairly unique to the Washington, DC
area. In DC lingo
, the "slug line" is another method of getting around the DC metro
area, during rush hour
The slug lines originated in the 1970
s, during the OPEC oil embargo
es. Simply put, to lower costs and to avoid the terrible DC rush hour traffic
on and around the Beltway
, drivers prefer to take the less-congested HOV lanes
(High Occupancy Vehicle
) that run along I-66
, into the city. However, an HOV lane is just that -- it requires the vehicle to have a minimum number passengers, in order to permit use of the lane; People caught in violation of this regulation face stiff fines
Enter the slug line. Usually (although not always) situated near Metro
Bus stops, people congregate
, waiting for a driver to approach. When s/he pulls up to the slug line, the driver will announce where s/he is headed, i.e., "The Pentagon
" or "Metro Center
". Those in the crowd wishing to arrive at said location get into the vehicle, as capacity allows. Thus, having a full vehicle, the driver can get on the HOV
lane. At the same time, saves the one "slugging
" it bus and/or train fare.
As slugging has evolved, so have various rules of etiquette
, regarding this method of transportation. A few of the most important ones are as follows:
- No money ever changes hands "on the slug", nor is it requested or offered. Again, the slug is something of a symbiotic relationship.
- No conversation ever exists on the slug, unless the driver him/herself initiates it, and even then, there are limits on conversation, as to avoid potentially inflaming the ire of the driver or passengers.
- No woman is ever "left alone" at the stop. This is done out of concern for a woman's safety.
Over the years, there have been worries about the slug lines disappearing, but these have always tended to be unfounded
. In fact, more lines continue to form each month. As traffic in the DC metro area continues to get worse, there is no doubt that the slug line
s will live on.
More information regarding the slug lines can be found at: http://www.slug-lines.com/