Deliberations by the Metro board are wondrous to behold.

"This is our annual fare dance--f-a-r-e--the spring fare," Farefax, oops, Fairfax Metro director Joseph Alexander punned yesterday during what charitably may be called the deliberations of his revenue committee.

After four hours of marching up and down one verbal hill after another, the committee recommended higher transit fares and--for the first time--a 5 cent fee for transferring from one bus line to another. It was a bad idea when O. Roy Chalk proposed it for his old D.C. Transit System, and it's equally bad today.

The man who made this point as convincingly as anyone yesterday was Thomas M. Downs, a Metro director who also is the D.C. director of transportation and public works.

"The Metro bus system is not designed in many cases to reflect the . . . desired ride trips" of many passengers, he asserted. "We have made the needs of the transit riders subsidiary to the needs of the transit system and its management."

So did Downs come out against the transfer fee? No. Along with city Budget Director Gladys Mack, he supported it, citing the city's financial crunch. Describing himself as a representative of Mayor Marion Barry, Downs said: "I don't take positions as a free agent . . . . "

The D.C. City Council's representatives on the Metro board, the Rev. Jerry A. Moore Jr. and Hilda Mason, opposed the transfer fee and raised fares for senior citizens. In the end, a vote by the full board on higher fares was delayed a week.

To Moore goes the mixed metaphor prize: "Some pots are being scraped at the bottom. Senior citizens' pots are being scraped at the bottom."