There are many transportation options for your daily commute. Some people like to dictate their own schedule and drive solo, others like to drive with friends or family, some ride the bus, and others take the Metro. If you plan to commute along the I-66 corridor, there is another option that will help you travel fast (and free)—it’s called slugging. You can do this as a driver or as a passenger, you just have to make sure you’re ready for an adventure, and a chance to meet interesting people along the way.
What is Slugging?
Slugging is a type of ridesharing that anyone can use, and it's an option to explore if you have a longer commute. Usually people are picked up by a solo driver and dropped off at a destination that is close to the driver’s destination.
Originally a common commuting option along I-395, this method is now frequently used along I-66, as it allows the driver and the passenger to use the HOV lanes, free of charge. Read our Slugging 101 blog with a full breakdown of all the answers to your questions from a real slugger.
Slugging Etiquette and Rules
Basic decency will get you a long way when slugging, but there are rules that are specific to this unique transportation option. Here’s an overview to help you navigate your way:
1. First come, first served
Don’t take a ride out of turn. The person at the start of the line gets the next driver heading towards his/her destination.
2. Talk when talked to
Conversations do take place during slugging, but the rule is to wait for the driver to initiate it. Otherwise, take a nap or finish that book you’ve been reading.
3. Steer away from touchy topics
If you do have a conversation, make sure to avoid the typical taboo topics.
4. Slugging is free
Drivers do not expect you to pitch in with gas money.
5. Slugs can pass on a ride
If you don’t feel comfortable, you can decline a ride. There will always be another driver heading your way. Typically, drivers travel with at least two slugs to ensure a feeling of safety for everyone in the vehicle.
These are only a few rules to keep in mind when you plan on slugging. The important thing is to always be courteous and respectful. You can read more about slugline rules here.
Slugging on I-66
The most common area for people to be picked up is at a Park and Ride lot. These locations allow for sluglines to form, typically during peak hours, and for drivers to quickly pick up commuters. Other than having another passenger in the car, drivers must have an E-ZPass Flex to drive along I-66 during tolling hours. Eastbound HOV travelers must have the transponder on during the hours of 5:30–9:30 a.m. and westbound drivers must have the transponder when traveling during the hours of 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Visit Commute66.com to stay up-to-date on the changes coming to the corridor. You will receive information on construction updates and other transportation options along the corridor.
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners