After widespread protest from Prince William County riders, the Trailways bus system yesterday called off its plan to eliminate commuter service between Manassas and the District of Columbia.

"We want to see if we can work something out to keep the service running," Ted Knapped, a senior vice president of Continental Trailways, said in a telephone interview.

Virginia Stage Lines Inc., the Trailways subsidiary that provides computer service for Prince 1william County passengers, announced plans Monday to eliminate its Manassas-to-Washington lines July 15. Officials attributed the threatened cutback to steadily rising financial losses on the computer routes.

Knappen said that Trailways officials plan to schedule a meeting soon with Manassas-area commuters in an attempt to "see if there is any alternative" to abondoning the routes. Among the company's options, he said, are increased fares and possible subsidies from Prince William County or other local governments.

Trailways currently provides the only direct bus service between the Manassas area and the District of Columbia, according to transit officials. Colonial Transit Co. offers service between Manassas and the Pentagon.

Trailways' threatened cutbacks had prompted an investigation by the Interstate Commerce Commission. The federal regulatory agency plans to send representatives to the meeting between Trailways officials and Manassas-area commuters, an ICC official said yesterday.