Casual Carpools

Casual carpooling, known as slugging in the DC area, is a way for drivers to qualify for HOV lanes by picking up additional passengers on their way to work. Prospective passengers wait at customary points on commuter routes for a driver to pick them up.

Thousands of people use the systems every day. The trick is three-person occupancy, which eases weirdo concerns. Etiquette guidelines: the driver controls the radio, no food or drink, and no conversation unless initiated by the driver.

DC Slug Lines
SF casual carpools
Proposed casual carpool system for Seattle area US and Canada standard carpool listings

Casual Carpools in Indonesia
by Martin Schell, May 1, 2006.

Early this year, the governor of Jakarta imposed a requirement of "3 people in a car" on major city roads during rush hours (7-10 am, 4-7 pm). This "3-in-1" (local English term) rule has spawned a whole industry of "jockeys" (another local English term, equivalent to "sluggers" in US) that has adapted to varying conditions over the course of several months.

The fine for travel on such roads (unless one drives a taxi) is Rp 50,000 and the fee for a jockey/slugger is Rp 10,000 "near or far". Some women take along a toddler or babe at arms, which enables them to offer two passengers to people who are driving solo. (Presumably these are their own children or relatives, but some Jakarta residents told me that it is common for beggars to borrow or rent babies from neighbors in order to evoke sympathy.)

Naturally, questions of organized or disorganized crime quickly come into play. No one I know has heard of attempted thefts by jockeys, so it could be assumed that the industry polices itself -- getting paid for sitting in a car is too good a job to be ruined by thieves. In the first month or two, local mafiosi demanded Rp 1,000 a head for standing on "their" corners but the mafia feudalism was soon replaced by a quasi-official version. Now, an unofficial fee of Rp 5,000 a day must be paid in the morning to the "civilian guard" (uniformed civil servant who keeps an eye on sidewalk traffic near markets, or directs traffic in a neighborhood that has a wedding or funeral in progress).

Considering the need for round-trip bus fare, the territorial payment means that the first ride (Rp 10,000 income) is basically a break- even. The jockey service is legally considered hitch-hiking, which can mean arrest of the slugger and/or fine of the driver. However, this is very difficult to prove, given the common practice of arranging to pick up a friend or relative alongside the road (instead of paying for a few minutes' use of the parking lot at an office, mall, etc.).

Paid riders: People wait to warm a seat for pay in Jakarta, Indonesia, where 3 people are needed for access to HOV lanes.

***Disclaimer***While there are no incidents known to us during the thirty+ years of casual carpooling, entering into a car with a person unknown to you has low-probability but potentially very serious risks. Please ride with caution. This site is for informational purposes only, and and related persons are not responsible for your safety, etc. by providing this information.

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