The Alexandria City Council was told yesterday that the city's five-month old residential parking permit program in the Old Town area is working successfully and ought to be made permanent.

Pete Schumalev, a member of the city's parking and planning board, said most residents are "pleased" with the system, which limits parking on streets to three hours for nonresidents. The only people unhappy with the system are clerks from nearby retail stores, who must frequently move their cars to avoid being ticketed, he said.

Dorothy J. Roland, 323 Queen St., said that she has surveyed residents of ther neighborhood and most approved of the parking rules. "Only one person said that their maid did not have a parking place," she said.

The system began Jan, 1 after repeated complaints from Old Town residents that shoppers and office workers monopolized their residential street parking places.Under the city plan, residents of two parking zones bounded roughly by Washington, Union Church, and Princess streets are able to park without limitation on streets there with special parking permits.

"I have heard good comments from private citizens," said Vice Mayor Nora Lamborne. "But I have also heard that one underground parking garage has raised its rates" because of the increased demand for parking in the Old Town area, she said.

Councilwoman Ellen Pickering mentioned the posibility of lowering the parking time limit from three hours that two hours. "However I don't want to propose that now because . . . I would hate to do anything to hamper the program," she said.

The program was started for a 90-day trial period and has been extended several times since the original April 1 expiration date. The council is expected to vote on May 22 on whether to make the program permanent.

In other council business, members received a proposal to increase by 50 per cent the initial fare charged by the city's 600 taxicabs. Under the proposal from the cab industry, the charge would go from 60 cents for the first quarter mile to 90 cents for the same distance.

Councilman Robert L. Calhoun criticized city officials for not having double-checked figures submitted by several cab company owners.

City Manager Douglas Harman said it would have cost the city at least $10,000 to varity the figures and that his staff didn't have funds available to handle the task.

The cab owners said they needed the increase to counter the increases costs of fuel and vehicle maintenance. The council will consider the matter as its May 22 meeting and is expected to vote on the rate increase proposal sometime in June. The cab owners last received a rate increase two years ago. The cab owners last received a rate increase two years ago.