HOUSTON Would you jump into the car of a stranger? Hundreds of Houstonians do it every morning on the way to work to save time and money.

The phenomenon called slugging developed in the northeast and has caught on in Houston over the last few years.

The sluggers park at a Metro Park and Ride lot and form a line to get into cars with drivers who are looking for a passenger so they can legally take the HOV.

We rode along with Carolyn Brune and Rhonda Allen, two strangers who shared a ride to downtown Houston.

I don t have a problem, I see the same people almost every day, said Brune, the driver.

I think that the mother s voice is always in the back of my head: Don t get into a car with strangers. But this has worked perfectly for many, many years, said Allen.

All of the men we talked with said they felt safe catching a ride from a stranger. But some women are leery of accepting rides from male drivers.

That s happened occasionally, said David Brown. Some ladies don t feel comfortable in certain cars or vehicles.

Metro doesn t endorse the practice.

The issue that we have with instant car-pooling is the safety factor. You don t know who you are getting in the car with, said Metro spokesperson Raequel Roberts.

We ve never had an incident, fortunately, but there is always a potential and the safety of our customers is critical to us.

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