WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Public transportation has taken a huge hit during the pandemic. Ridership on Metro is down and many local bus lines are running on reduced service.
Slugging has also essentially come to a complete standstill. But as things slowly start to reopen, organizers say they are confident the informal way of carpooling will return to normal.
So how do slug lines work?
According to Kalai Kandasamy, who helps organize slug lines, the informal mode of carpooling is unique, because people commuting to the city stop to pickup other passengers, even though they are total strangers. It allows drivers to get on the HOV lanes without having to pay and the riders catch a free ride to work.
In mid-March slug lines were pretty bare as everything shut down. Nearly four months later, things are slowly starting to pick up again.
"I see conversations going on with folks at the Pentagon, Navy Yard and Crystal City," said Kandasamy.
In late June, about 200 people who slug were surveyed in an informal survey on Facebook. Most of them responded that they wanted to see face masks worn at all times while waiting in line and in the car.
"We want everybody to be respectful of each other. If they are not wearing a mask and you want a mask, please pass the ride or rider, or be specific and show a sign saying please wear a mask," the organizer said.
As far as safety, he said it's no different right now than getting in an Uber.
Kandasamy said he has no doubt slug lines will make a full comeback. It all depends on how quickly people go back to work.
"Slugging has been here for almost four decades and we will still continue to slug," he said.