Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Been Slugging lately?

So, there's a new, free mass transit system that has been developed by citizens in Washington without aid of billions of dollars in stimulus money, years of consulting studies and 37 layers of administration.

The only thing it needs is a better name than "slugging".

Thousands of commuters in Virginia are looking for a faster way in and out of DC via the precious HOV lanes (high occupancy vehicle lanes). What's really stunning to me is that this is entirely voluntary and seems to be a grassroots movement that has sprung up in the motherland of all bureaucracies.

"Every morning, these commuters meet in park-and-ride lots along the interstate in northern Virginia. They then ride, often in silence, without exchanging so much as first names, obeying rules of etiquette but having no formal organization. No money changes hands, although the motive is hardly altruistic. Each person benefits in pursuit of a selfish goal: For the passenger, it’s a free ride; for the driver, a pass to the HOV lane, and both get a faster trip than they would otherwise. Even society reaps rewards, as thousands of cars come off the highway."

Slugging — The People's Transit from Miller-McCune on Vimeo.

The best quote from the video: "It's like chaos but it actually works."

We don't have a need for HOV lanes in NNY but I could imagine a modified slugging model working as a way to lower commuting costs if gasoline prices stay above $3.75. There are a few central hubs for employment in NNY - Watertown, Ft. Drum, etc. - and individuals commuting from all over the North Country to reach these destinations. An individual working on Fort Drum and living in Clayton has a weekly commute of 300 miles. Assuming 20 miles/gallon you're looking at 15 gallons of gas or $60/week in commuting cost (I used $4 gas just to make the math easier). Split that cost with 3 other people driving from Clayton to Fort Drum every day and your annual commuting cost might fall from $3,000/year to $750. Congratulations you just saved $2,250 in after-tax dollars or over $3,100 in pre-tax money. You just gave yourself a 5% pay raise!!

Perhaps someone should set up a Facebook page or blog recommending pick-up points/drop off spots in Watertown/Ft. Drum.


For your daily dose of comedy please consider "License center can't offer licences because they didn't get their license."

"When Farmington opened a license center at city hall about a week ago, officials thought it would drive more people downtown.

Turns out the city-owned center couldn't help residents drive anywhere, because it failed to get state approval to offer driver's license and motor vehicle services. "

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