A reader of this newspaper who lives in Northwest Washington, Leslie Woolf, wrote a letter to the editor that interested Metro Scene.

Frustrated by the agonizingly slow, long escalator at the Woodley Park station, Woolf has taken to riding the elevator intended for -- but not restricted to -- use by handicapped patrons. It's faster, he said, and closer to his home.

At least one other passenger, equally frustrated for identical logistical reasons, has become an elevator rider at the Rosslyn station in Arlington.

But the Farecard machine located on the train platform level that elevator riders at Rosslyn must use has been out of order for at least three weeks. It simply won't accept cards. A complaint to a station attendant there drew a shrug and the resigned comment, "It's always on the blink."

The station attendant at the downtown end of the trip, who must validate the Farecard to get the passenger through the gate, has gotten fed up with providing daily validations. He says the rider shouldn't use the Rosslyn elevator, but should switch to the escalator if the machine isn't working. Passing through a Farecard machine that isn't working, even if it's the only one available, is against the rules, he said.

Great! To accommodate Metro, one should take the elevator back up, walk across the street and go back down the moving stairway.

Metro seems to have an option: fix the machine, or shut down the elevator to keep riders from bypassing it.