Submitted by Vysokojakokurva_C137 t3_1157m0i in baltimore

I’ve been asked twice in the last week if I am “hacking” by an older black woman and black man in the city when I’m dropping my girlfriend off for work. Two separate occasions.

Are they hitch hikers? I’m very confused. I work in IT and I do in fact “hack” so it’s confusing me why I’m being asked this. There is no other information they provided except “are you hacking?”. Is the government after me in the form of middle aged humans asking me about my academic abilities? Do they think I am hacking them? What is going on?



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the_wrong_banana69 t1_j9057dh wrote

'are you giving people rides for money?'


Vysokojakokurva_C137 OP t1_j905fq0 wrote

Do you know the etymology? Or should I say the origin?


lucasbelite t1_j907sp8 wrote

In a lot of areas a taxi license is called a hack license. Look up the etymology of hackney to get the first origin.

> The New York City colloquial terms "hack" (taxi or taxi-driver), hackstand (taxi stand), and hack license (taxi licence) are probably derived from hackney carriage. Such cabs are now regulated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

And that will bring you to:

> The origins of the word hackney in connection with horses and carriages are uncertain. The origin is often attributed to the London borough of Hackney, whose name likely originated in Old English meaning 'Haka's Island'.


Willothwisp2303 t1_j91m7ya wrote

This is fun. I go out on a hack with friends when we go ride our horses together out in the open without jumping. I like that it applies kinda similarly in my mostly white community to the mostly black community asking for a ride with a new friend.


Charming_Wulf t1_j91v19z wrote

I do wonder if there's a term for etymological black hole that is historical UK. There's so much slang that follows a similar backwards timeline: modern term, transition point, historical term, transition point in England, 'people in X (industry, region, social class, etc etc) just starting saying this in blank-year, first written example 100 years later with five different spellings'


human_on_a_computer t1_j9276mu wrote

I was confused for so long when I had out of town friends coming into Baltimore. And they were always like “what are those people doing?”. And when I said. Hacking. They always got more confused. So I guess it’s mostly a Baltimore thing. Only time I was ever involved with a hacking experience was years ago in high school. Driving with a friend. And he was like….let’s pick this dude up! The guy mumbled a bunch of shit the whole ride not making sense and when we got to 33rd. He just was like “fuck you” and grabbed a handful of burned cds in the back seat and got out of the car. Needless to say. I don’t pick up hacks now.


anne_hollydaye t1_j910ae2 wrote

You know when you see people standing on the curb with their arm out, waving their hand up and down like they're hailing a cab? They're calling a hack.

Meaning they want a ride somewhere without paying the rates required by Uber/Lyft and taxis.


[deleted] t1_j91bjca wrote



smatastic t1_j91c5j6 wrote

Maybe, but there are no protections for either party. Getting into or letting a stranger into your car is something they told me not to do when growing up but, some folks just don’t have access to the apps or credits cards so they do what they gotta do I suppose.


carthellD t1_j922bfg wrote

When my immediate family used hacks (pre-smartphone), it was typically to haul a month's worth of groceries from the local supermarket to home. The guys who were hacking stood around the supermarket exit, were regulars, and older. The rates charged were less than a regular taxi.

We never flagged down hacks on the street for general transportation, namely to avoid any negative issues. But the reason why others do it is because personal transport is unavailable (the riders don't have cars, and neither does family nor friends), and faster than taking the bus. Negotiations are done by "feel." (The driver and rider have their own ideas of what should be charged to get to a destination, so they talk a bit until a rate is agreed upon.) The rates were typically lower than taxis.

About 30% of people who live in the city don't have a car, according to the 2015 Census count. Most of that number are renters. It was purely a cash economy when I grew up. I imagine that this has changed a little depending on how technically savvy a driver and rider is, and whether the rider has a bank account (there are many people who don't).


[deleted] t1_j91cgrd wrote



carthellD t1_j924ymx wrote

Hackers don't have a global IT infrastructure to maintain, nor an administrative staff to market the service, provide customer service representatives, and manage resources on the back-end. Uber driver rates are cutthroat only on the ride share service.

As far as "calculating price": Passenger: I'm going to <destination>. How much? Driver: $X. Passenger: How about $Y? Etc. until a rate is agreed upon.


Kraqrjack t1_j9264w0 wrote

I use to hack drug addicts from my neighborhood “down the hill” to the dope holes. It’s how I got my own fix every day. There was no Uber. Even today you can’t typically leave your Uber waiting in an open-air drug market while you’re in line in the alley scoring your heroin.


BandFit2251 t1_ja08er6 wrote

Where would I go to score most convenient place in bmore?


Kraqrjack t1_ja0f7fp wrote

That was 25 years ago. I imagine if I still used dope all this time I’d be dead by now


spankenstein t1_j921gjp wrote

It originated as a sort of unofficial rideshare network predating Uber, when most taxis wouldn't pick up black people.


luchobucho t1_j92ii5d wrote

“It originated as a sort of unofficial rideshare network predating Uber, when most taxis wouldn't pick up black people.”

Baltimore was (is) a segregated city. Commercial taxis didn’t generally serve black people so hacking sprung up to fill a need.

I remember my grandpa would go hack outside the grocery store on sundays after church when I was a kid.


No-Lunch4249 t1_j91d40r wrote

Uber is really not that cheap anymore. I paid like $50 for an early morning ride to BWI a while back


taketheleap22 t1_j91icuk wrote

They charge an airport fee now when coming or going to the airport.


anne_hollydaye t1_j91gyk4 wrote

I have no idea. Was told so by someone I worked with awhile back.


stanley_leverlock t1_j9068r0 wrote

I'm not sure if it's specific to Baltimore, but when I lived in the area there was a specific hand signal people on the street would do for "I'm willing to pay a few bucks for a ride".

DC has a similar thing called "slug lines" at certain intersections for people to share rides out of the city.


Dismal_Chart_9825 t1_j906j3c wrote

Like when Michael Dukie and Bug went to Six Flags


_thwip_ t1_j91xrkz wrote

Don't fret on the ride, it's tried-and-true


TheRepoCode t1_j92i89j wrote

Or when Bodie and Poot got a ride back to the pit. The driver was lucky to get the $10


rhjk14 t1_j91jexv wrote

Slugging is usually like a coordinated group that does it for work to a designated point though


PleaseBmoreCharming t1_j91pbkt wrote

Yeah, that's just carpooling.


schmatteganai t1_j92j9km wrote

slugging is more chaotic than carpooling- everyone meets at designated locations and then sorts themselves based on destination, it's not pre-organized. It's more of a NoVA thing


missmobtown t1_j91u8q1 wrote

Yes! Used to see folks all up and down Edmondson Ave making the hand signal.


Temporary-Light9189 t1_j907kep wrote

You wanna make some money doing it go up and down Pennsylvania and North Avenues /s Unless you actually do I can’t stop you.


citizenkrang t1_j917vv0 wrote

Just be careful or you will end up in a whole mess of trouble like master hacker Dade Murphy, aka Zero Cool, aka Crash Override.


Frofro69 t1_j91ga0d wrote

While you're at it, you can stop at Legends off Pennsylvania and get a chicken box, maybe even some percs lol


Temporary-Light9189 t1_j91sjnd wrote

Hell yea legends and culture Caribbean are the shit, I’m at legends like 3 times a week lol Edit: for the chicken not the percs lmfao


Frofro69 t1_j91tj5k wrote

3 times a week? You're a true survivor lol. I went down that way ONE time after work and it was wild af lol. But I'm from the suburbs so the whole city was culture shock


Temporary-Light9189 t1_j91u9ec wrote

Oh yea no I definitely feel you bro, you definitely need to know those guys or get to know them to hang there, I live right over the line on 40 so I’m not local (also white so I stick out like a sore thumb lol) so whenever I go down there I have to hold myself to a certain level of respect and also at this point I know most of those guys by name, as long as I’m minding my own business and bringing money into their neighborhood and I’m respectful, no one bothers me.


Frofro69 t1_j91v1rf wrote

Oh yeah, in that part of town, it's all about respect. No matter what I acknowledge someone and just say "what's up" because you can definitely start drama by not giving that very basic level of respect.

I've been known to be a social butterfly though, so I'd probably get by okay if I were to walk around there lol. Especially since my coworkers used to live in the Sandtown/Upton area.


Temporary-Light9189 t1_j93gcun wrote

Oh yea for sure man, at the end of the day the people getting hurt are the ones that are doing something to earn it. Although I do realize that there are innocents that get hurt, every time I see that corner where that poor young woman was shot in crossfire with her kids in the car I take a moment of silence in respect.


Frofro69 t1_j94hlnz wrote

I remembered this video just because of the mention of Legends lol


Temporary-Light9189 t1_j94m8tv wrote

Bro I’ve never seen that video I’m fucking geekin man, yo I know exactly what he means with the chess shit bro I once seen 2 guys locked in a perpetual move both out cold with their pieces mid play just sleeping it was funny and not funny at the same time.


Frofro69 t1_j95y32p wrote

I swear Baltimore is a different breed man


Frofro69 t1_j94g0kf wrote

Yeah, she didn't deserve that 😔😔. I used to be closed-minded about that stuff in those areas, but it's a cold world over there. I always try to advocate for ways to get kids and youth educated in other things early so they don't get caught in the trap of "the game." But in those places, it's hard because the city literally left those places to fall apart.

Everyone deserves the chance to go home and be treated with respect, it definitely gets you farther in life.


cologne_peddler t1_j925khf wrote

Lol this is the most Baltimore shit ever. I'm surprised it doesn't come up more often.


Complete-Ad9574 t1_j90to70 wrote

In the old days a hack was a cab driver


RobAtSGH t1_j933pnj wrote

Well, yeah, but here in B'more a "hack" was unlicensed. Kinda an informal taxi system in minority neighborhoods. See, Baltimore has a real history of serious racism and segregation for a "Northern" city (see: redlining, white-only deed covenants, etc.). Taxi companies, even up into the 70s wouldn't take call-outs to Black neighborhoods, and would frequently refuse to pick up Black fares when hailed. As a result, an informal network of unlicensed "hacks" serviced those communities, and both driving a hack and hailing a hack for a ride are both referred to as "hacking". The practice persists, primarily because hacks tend to charge a flat negotiated rate that's cheaper than a commercial taxi service.


aresef t1_j920ox6 wrote

Hacks are unlicensed cab drivers.


micc117 t1_j90t4rb wrote

I still do this shit all the time down in the city some pay big bucks to get driven around, there's got to be careful that's all


ampetertree t1_j91bhgs wrote


I’m sorry the I work in IT so yeah I do hack would have been a funny line to tell them.


weahman t1_j9285pb wrote

Yes they want the new Kali image on a flash drive.


Baltimorebillionaire t1_j91wkvr wrote

Does anyone here actually pick them up? Seems not worth the risk/reward.


DrBigWilds t1_j92p8b3 wrote

That’s the most Baltimore shit I’ve heard since bacon egg & jelly


TheWandererKing t1_j91apz6 wrote

I drove around and throughout the city for work and get flagged down constantly by people and they look so offput when I drive right past them.

Like, an empty car is not an invite.


Robbiebphoto t1_j92s37b wrote

There’s a FB page for hacking


9to5Voyager t1_j93p1zm wrote

That's gotta be a Baltimore thing I have literally never heard that in my life


YorickTheCat t1_j942zw9 wrote

Naw, hacks are all over the world actually. They are called hacks in NYC.


WikiSummarizerBot t1_j94319u wrote

[Illegal taxi operation]( or hackers is a,classes of licensed transportation providers.)

>Illegal taxicabs, sometimes known as pirate taxis, gypsy cabs, or jitney cabs, are taxicabs and other for-hire vehicles that are not duly licensed or permitted by the jurisdiction in which they operate. Most major cities worldwide require taxicabs to be licensed, safety-inspected, insured as for-hire vehicles and use taximeters and there may also be requirements that the taxi driver be registered or accredited. However, many unlicensed cabs are in operation. Illegal cabs may be marked taxi vehicles (sometimes referred to as "speedy cabs"), and others are personal vehicles used by an individual to offer unauthorized taxi-like services.

^([ )^(F.A.Q)^( | )^(Opt Out)^( | )^(Opt Out Of Subreddit)^( | )^(GitHub)^( ] Downvote to remove | v1.5)


RG_Viza t1_j9427m7 wrote

Unlicensed (and Ilegal) taxi

Not downing it or anything. That’s just what it is.


bwinsy t1_j948zic wrote

Are you catching an illegal taxi?


UptownHiFi t1_j95e45k wrote

I’m reminded of the time when Martin O’Malley was Mayor traveling down Harford Rd and he saw someone with his arm extended flapping his hand waiting for a hack. O’Malley had his driver pull over and opened the window to confront the person thinking he was a drug dealer. This incident revealed that he wasn’t as street smart as he portrayed himself to be.


Objective-Start7859 t1_j9hasru wrote

Be careful if you accept to do a hack in Baltimore. Most cases people will only give you little to no cash or will rob you!


BandFit2251 t1_ja0fcn2 wrote

Yeah I hear yah. I was just trying to get right and don't know where to go.


_sk3llwo_ t1_j93d8iu wrote

oof… this place is being gentrified to the max. also plz don’t respond with ur “it needs to be” & “this place is a shithole” cuz I do not care!


[deleted] t1_j90vqou wrote



256fps t1_j914x50 wrote

Careful bro, he's from the matrix.


Vysokojakokurva_C137 OP t1_j92s7nt wrote

I’m from Baltimore, born in the city. I was never one to give people rides or pick up strangers. I just haven’t heard the term before.

Btw I didn’t downvote you.