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Slug-Lines.com - Slugging and Slug Lines Information For Washington DC
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Slug-Lines.com - Slugging and Slug Lines Information For Washington DC
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Honolulu plans to adopt 'slug lines'

With a possible transit strike looming in a few days, Honolulu officials and employers plan to adopt new ridesharing ideas, including "slug lines," organizing the pick-up of passengers by motorists who give free rides to qualify for carpool lanes.

"We're calling it 'Ride Aloha,'" said Cheryl Soon, director of transportation services for the City and County of Honolulu. "Motorists will carry placards that show they participate in the program, and we'll set up places where they can pick up riders."

The practice has been commonplace for years in Washington, D.C., where motorists line up in the shadow of the Washington Monument to pick up passengers to qualify them for the car pool lanes of the main superhighway into the Virginia suburbs.

In the nation's capital, they call these "slug lines."

"It started as a pejorative term for the passengers," said Steve Eldridge, who covers transportation issues for WTOP Newsradio in Washington, D.C. "There used to be a practice by some people of using slugs as bus tokens, and the local bus drivers called these passengers slugs, implying that they were cheating Metrobus of business by bumming rides off these drivers."

Eldridge said most Washingtonians don't know the origin of the term and use it without prejudice. The term is routinely used on radio traffic reports in the confident expectation that listeners will understand it.

He said slug lines were also used in the New York City area after the collapse of the World Trade Center.

"Slug lines, huh?" Cheryl Soon said. "Maybe we should localize it and call them gecko lines!"

While officials and employers see long-term benefits in adopting fresh ideas to reduce traffic congestion, the rest of the process of planning for a possible bus strike is less uplifting and more stressful.

The next general meeting of local employers and city officials to plan for this is still scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday at Blaisdell Center, but has been moved from the Oahu Room, which was packed at a similar meeting last week, to the larger Pikake Room, also on the second floor of the central building.

Thursday morning, Soon met with human resources representatives from Sheraton, Hilton, Outrigger, Marriott, Hyatt, Hale Koa, Halekulani and other Waikiki hotels. The meeting was held at Outrigger East. While declining to discuss plans in details, representatives of two hotels said they thought the city was doing a good job of preparing for heightened traffic if there is a strike.

TheBus, operated for the city by Oahu Transit Services, is in negotiations with the Teamsters, whose leaders have said they simply don't believe there is no money for raises. Fares have already been raised once this year, and service cuts are planned. Mayor Harris announced Wednesday evening that he would delay service cuts that were scheduled to start soon because it appeared the city council would find funds to restore service, but warned that if this did not happen, the delay of service cuts now would mean that cuts later would have to be deeper.

At a meeting between city officials and employers last week, Teamsters officials distributed fliers urging citizens to ask the Ethics Commission to investigate statements about the city finances with respect to transit service and pay.

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