The history of slugging in our area goes back to before the current lines formed for free rides. The term originated from when bus drivers would discover that instead of a token a rider had dropped in a slug (fake coin) and managed a free bus ride. It has been going on in Northern Virginia for at least 40 years and I know my dad often caught a ride from his office in DC back to Springfield in the mid-1970’s before slugging became a formal process.
A new slug line leaving from the Woodbridge VRE station to drop commuters at the Eisenhower or King Street Metro stations in Alexandria is scheduled to start October 19, 2010. Anyone hoping to catch a ride should stand at the new “Kiss and Ride” area at the VRE station on Route 1 between 6:45AM to 8:30 AM. Parking at the VRE station is free.
The afternoon line is scheduled to run from the Alexandria VRE station at King Street and come back to Woodbridge. If for some reasons there are no slugs for a return trip you will be able to ride the VRE back to Woodbridge. Whether this new slug line will be successful is a big question.
The reason for the popularity of the current slug lines from Woodbridge into DC and Crystal City is tied to the HOV lanes. Since I-495 headed to Alexandria does not have HOV lanes once riders pass Springfield they will be back in traffic. The new Hot Lane project underway heads the opposite direction. Read the Woodbridge VRE Slug Line Flyer for more details.