I have noted with more than passing interest the comments of Norman Saunders {Close to Home, Nov. 15} and Lucille Johnson {Close to Home, Nov. 29} on taxicab service in Washington. As a taxi driver in D.C. for almost 25 years, I have one question: Why doesn't the squeaky wheel get the grease?

The basic complaint about taxi service seems to be that drivers are reluctant to transport people to outlying areas of the city. In particular, trips to the Northeast and Southeast sections seem to generate the most grumbling.

Saunders and Arrington Dixon, chairman of the taxi commission, suggest the solution is to increase zone taxi fares to better reflect the actual distance traveled. Johnson suggests instead that taxi drivers are incompetent: ''Do Cabdrivers Really Know How to Hack?" Or, perhaps prejudiced. She contends that driver reluctance to go to certain areas "is not solely a distance problem." She asks, "Why penalize passengers with higher fares because of where they live?"

I don't know how long Johnson has driven a cab, or what exactly her qualifications were to have been appointed to the taxi commission's Panel on Rates and Rules. Her "model example" of a good and efficient hacker involves transporting four riders (sharing) from the area of Georgia and Missouri avenues NW for a total of $17.20. This is indeed a fine example of hacker efficiency and service to the public. But even if all cabdrivers followed it, I fail to see how it could improve service to Northeast and Southeast.

When she questions why riders should be penalized with higher fares because of where they live, she seems to be asking, "Why should my fare be higher just because I ride farther?"

In short, calling cabdrivers incompetent, prejudiced or unwilling to follow regulations does nothing to solve the problem.

Cabdrivers grumble when they feel pain or perceive some inequity. They express these feelings by withholding service. And then the public complains to the regulators. It is a bad situation for everyone.

But have the regulators ever wondered whether the drivers have a legitimate gripe? The fact remains that until the cabdrivers are satisfied to the extent they no longer withhold service, the present situation will continue.

It seems to me that until the regulators ask, "Why are the drivers grumbling and what can we do to restore service?" they are not doing their job properly. Why not consider how cabdrivers feel about this matter? After all, we are the ones doing the work. -- Blair Kincaid