The East Bay's Casual Commute just got a little more codified with today's Chron cover story about the cheapest way to get across the Bay Bridge. We've never been able to find a website explaining the casual commute phenomenon (until today), or where exactly to pick up rides -- though we have seen groups of artists-working-day-jobs, slumming consultants, and other downtown denizens patiently lined up on various corners in Berkeley and Rockridge waiting on corners around 8 in the morning. Thanks to the Chron for publishing the definitive list!

So the trick with cas. commute is that East Bay denizens looking to get to San Francisco meet up at designated points with drivers who are looking to get three people for the free Bay Bridge carpool lane. Once in the car, the casual commute rules are famous: no chitchat unless the driver initiates; no cell phone calls; driver's radio should be set on NPR, classical, or jazz; no food. Riders are dropped off in SoMA (though sometimes a driver will agree to take you up to the Financial District if it's along their way).

But rule-breakers are legion. One friend who casual-commutes reports a lawyer blabbing on and on about his cases on his cell phone without ever figuring out one of his companions in the car was a federal judge, much to the snickerings of the rest of the people in the car (a carful of lawyers is apparently not otherwise notable, we guess). The Chron also reports that one environmentalist will open the door to SUVs waiting in line, shout at them for despoiling our earth, and then slam the door and move to the next car in line. Awesome.

Any good casual commute stories out there?