I read John Hayden's letter {July 13} regarding the hours of Metro service with some surprise. I, too, am a transplanted New Yorker, and I disagree with some of the things Mr. Hayden said when comparing the Washington Metro with the New York City subway.

Extending the hours of Metro, perhaps to 24-hour service, is a fine idea. While Mr. Hayden states that Washington is not a 24-hour town, many establishments stay open after midnight, and many of these serve alcohol. In New York, it is possible to get home from a bar at 2 a.m. without driving. In Washington it is almost impossible.

While the D.C. Metro is more expensive than the New York subway, it is also cleaner and faster. But what's the point of having cleaner, faster trains if they sit in the train yards? I would rather ride a slower, dirtier train than not ride at all.


I read with dismay the letter from John Hayden, a "transplanted New Yorker," who must have fled to Washington so he could go to bed early. Mr. Hayden apparently felt compelled to ride the NYC subway from midnight to dawn, cavorting with the homeless, the muggers and other trouble-makers who, Mr. Hayden fears, would inhabit our Metro should we extend the system's de facto curfew a few hours.

The D.C. Metro system is vastly different from the New York system: our stations are much smaller and simply constructed with no extra levels or open areas of shops and stands where homeless people could loiter. Furthermore, the D.C. Metro is easily patrolled, by both uniformed transit police and those omnipresent cameras.

"The District of Columbia is not a 24-hour town" because folks have to end their evenings abruptly at 11:45, jog to the Metro and go home. Most of our nightclubs are open till 2:30 a.m., and without mass transit, getting home at that hour usually means having to drive. Perhaps Mr. Hayden is asleep when the clubs close, and the hazards of exhausted or drunk drivers do not worry him.

Metro-till-midnight suffices for Mr. Hayden, except on New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July, the only days he seems to come out. But Mr. Hayden may have to find another quaint, tired city to sleep in because D.C. will grow up. When it does, people in this town will be able to get home by Metro -- after midnight. PETER A. LYNN Washington

As a native South Jerseyite and suburban Philadelphian, I must make a correction. Paul Weyrich's interesting and highly convincing article on urban rail transportation systems {"The Third Busiest Rail Transit System in the Country," Close to Home, July 12} provides extremely detailed and, I assume, correct information on the departure times of the first and last trains in various U.S. cities. His purpose in writing is to encourage the D.C. Metro system to expand its hours of service. I support his suggestion wholeheartedly.

One place named in his article, however, has been badly mangled. Mr. Weyrich writes enthusiastically about the Philadelphia area's Patco system, which runs trains across the Delaware River to a mysterious "Luducold, N.J., some 16 miles from downtown." The place he has in mind is Lindenwold, N.J., some 16 miles from Center City. JOHN H. DICK Washington