Metrorail has shot itself -- and its users -- in the foot with Metro board chairman Joseph Alexander's announcement that cars parked more than 24 hours at certain stations will be fined $25, then towed {Metro, Sept. 23}.

Mr. Alexander accuses users of parking in Metrorail lots to avoid National Airport parking fees. Sure, I park at the Vienna station when I fly out of National, but not to avoid airport fees; often it is impossible to park at National. Metro advertises the system's convenience to encourage use. That is why I paid more than I intended to buy a home near a Metro station -- to take advantage of a convenient commute to downtown and occasionally to the airport. Then I learned that if I did not arrive at the Vienna lot by 7:30 p.m., I was out of luck and in for a ticket; now it seems I shall have to schedule flights from Dulles.

Can't Metrorail figure out how to prorate charges for cars left more than eight hours? The system, with its track record of blunders, rates right up there with the Internal Revenue Service in user-friendliness. PATRICIA TRENNER Fairfax

The plan to prohibit parking for more than 24 hours at five Virginia Metrorail stations {editorial, Sept. 25} is sensible: the use of Metro is predicated on short one-day trips. Building bigger parking lots is only a palliative solution; it would remove still more land from beneficial use and would do nothing to diminish our dependence on the automobile.

But while we wait for a truly ecological solution, how about providing taxi stands at those stations? Perhaps that would not be as convenient as travelers would want, but it would certainly be more in tune with the social good. ROBERT ARONSTEIN Falls Church