as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

slugging to work: anonymous ride-sharing

If you've ever sat in rush-hour traffic, gazing longingly at the cars rushing by in the high-occupancy vehicle lanes, try doing something your parents warned you never to do: Hop in a car with a complete stranger behind the wheel. In a few cities, like Washington, D.C., formerly lone motorists can zip over into those HOV lanes thanks to a rare breed of commuter called a "slug." And with gas prices through the roof there's now an extra incentive to do it.

As SUVs and station wagons pull to the curb, the driver announces his destination to the person at the head of the line — the "caller" in slug parlance — who then relays that information to the slugs behind. The drivers need an extra body or two to get into the high-occupancy lanes. So they pick up the slugs, who get a free ride into the city and a faster commute themselves. The system isn't overseen by any government — it has evolved organically over the years. There are rules, like no smoking or eating by driver or slug. Slugs may not adjust windows or talk on cell phones. And there's no messing with the radio. It's a system that allows total strangers to tolerate each other for long periods of time in a very small enclosed environment.

- excerpt from NPR

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