Sunday, July 20, 2008

Picking Up Slugs

On today's FLS front page is an article on slugging. For those unfamiliar with this practice, I highly recommend reading the authority on the subject . I'm posting this short bit to relay my first experience picking up slugs, but if you're anxious for the result - it was awesome.

Last week I had a three day training class on the opposite side of Arlington from my normal Crystal City VRE stop. Rather than take VRE to the Metro, then having to transfer to another Metro line to get to my final stop, I decided to drive to the training.

All three days I stopped by the Rt 17 park & ride lot, and picked up either 2 or 3 'slugs' and off we went to the Pentagon. Most slugs are a quiet bunch, as that's part of the slugging rules. Only on Thursday did I have a bit more talkative group, which was actually fine with me. The only other issue was the one rider with standard IPod earbuds which let more music out than they put in your ears. The addition of riders meant my commute from 17 to the Pentagon took only 45 minutes each day. After training was over, I would swing by the Pentagon and pick up a few riders for the ride home. With the merge at Dumfries, the trip back took a little longer, but generally much quicker than riding by myself.

It's almost a game to see how much we can save. Consider that I drive a 2008 hybrid, which emits many fewer pollutants than the average 5-10 yr old vehicle (even when the engine is kicking). Add to that the three other vehicles I was taking off the road by picking up slugs. So my one trip was the equivalent of taking say 5-6 vehicles off the road (in pollution) and 3 off the road in actual vehicles.

Next week I'll be back to taking the VRE, but I'm thankful to having the slug lines for those times when going to other work areas.

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