The Metro board unanimously approved yesterday a "Park and Ride" transit pass program for Alexandria that will enable commuters to its Old Town area to park their cars away from the city's core and complete their journey's aboard regular Metro buses.

Designed to eliminate traffic and parking congestion in Old Town Alexandria, the transit pass program is expected to go into effect Jan. 2. On the same day the city plans to begin enforcing a residential parking permit program restricting out-of-town parkers to three hours on some residential streets.

"The employes [of businesses in Old Town] will have to go some place," said Clifford Rusch, deputy city manager for Alexandria, who said the new transit pass system will be convenient for commuters because "the buses are running there right now."

Rusch said a private group of Alexandria businessmen and bankers is completing negotiations to lease a private parking lot on the site of the old Reed Theater near the railroad underpass between King and Cameron streets.

Monthly rates for use of the lot will be about $15 to $20 per parker and the special Metro bus passes will cost about $10 a month, said Rusch. He said this wil be about $10 to $15 cheaper than current Old Town parking rates.

About 50 to 100 persons are expected to make use of the program initially but Rusch said there is a potential for as many as 400 customers. Passengers using the bus pass will not be counted in official ridership surveys, and revenues earned by the program will be kept in a separate account and used to offset Metro costs assessed against Alexandria.