With increasing traffic congestion and escalating gas prices, carpooling has become a way of life in America’s biggest cities. Now new high-tech innovations such as ridesharing apps that make the process more efficient have given rise to a new class of riders known as “slugs”.
The term was originally coined by bus drivers trying to distinguish between commuters awaiting carpool drivers and people standing in line for the bus, just as they used to stay vigilant for fake bus tokens known as slugs.
In many urban centers with specific lanes dedicated to cars with three occupants (HOV-3), having clearly marked entry and exit points benefits everyone—drivers move faster and save gas; riders get to work; and the environment gets a break. The magic number is three—something about having just two occupants doesn’t seem as safe to many people, although the concept is the same. If the worst happens and no drivers show up, there’s always the bus.