Summer Slug Season Ends with Longer Lines, Fewer Drivers
– September 1, 2013 9:02 am
Well, it’s finally over – summer, that is. Sadly, my favorite season officially ends this weekend.
As this summer comes to a close, children will go back to school this week, which means the school buses will be back on the road. Family vacations will wrap up, which means parents will go back to work and their cars will return once again to the commuter lots. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll certainly miss the light summer traffic every morning and the open parking spaces at my favorite commuter lot.
I’ll be honest though, summer hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies this year. Sure, parking was easier, but the slug lines were longer and moved way more slowly than usual. There were days, like this morning, where I saw the long slug line at the Horner Road commuter lot, and promptly turned around and drove to the Route 123 lot to catch the bus.
Sometimes, I just don’t have the patience to wait in a long slug line.
Although traffic has seemed exponentially better than usual almost every morning for the last month, my commute time has actually increased due to the wait in line. My least favorite element of slugging is probably the unpredictability of it – you never know how long it will take to get a ride. I’ve had days where there were 10 people ahead of me, yet I spent only five or 10 minutes waiting for a ride. On the flip side, I’ve also been first or second in line and had to wait double that amount of time on really slow days.
On Tuesday, I had an event to attend that kept me at work later than planned that afternoon. As I hurried to the slug line, I was relieved to see a couple of cars waiting, and no slugs in line. I rushed over to the first car, and hopped into the backseat. The driver told me she had been waiting for quite a while. She hoped we could get another passenger soon, so that we could get onto the HOV lanes before they opened to all traffic at 6 p.m.
Tick, tock, went the clock… I watched as the minutes ticked by, and there were no slugs in sight. By 5:58 p.m., 20 minutes later, we still didn’t have another passenger, so the driver decided to make her way to the highway. Apparently, we both had places to be that evening, and that time wasted put a big wrench in our plans. She had no choice but to cancel her appointment, while I was over an hour late for mine. Had we been able to access the HOV lanes earlier, we would have missed the horrible backup near Springfield and probably would have made it home on time.
Those are the days that push me back to the commuter bus… Sometimes, I just need to know what time my ride will arrive, even if it’s only an approximation.
What I look forward to most about the change in seasons is that, while traffic will increase with more cars on the road again, I’m almost certain there will also be more slug drivers picking up. Believe it or not, I even look forward to seeing more slugs in line, because the system needs both riders and drivers to work efficiently.
As the 2013 summer season ends, I hope all of my fellow commuters have had a chance to get away for some much-needed R&R. This year, I’m actually looking forward to a nice, long fall vacation, as I prepare for my upcoming wedding and honeymoon in October!