I hear on the radio and read in the newspapers about the squawking by D.C. cabdrivers because Virginia cabs are allowed to "carry me back to Ole Virginny" and about attempts to stop them from doing so.

Why do I take Virginia cabs to get back home? It's very simple:

1. They know Virginia. There seems to be no minimum standard for knowledge of the city (or even the English language) to get a D.C. cabdriver's license. D.C. cabdrivers get totally lost in Virginia -- and lost in D.C.!

2. They are reliable. From a friend's house in D.C., I can call a Virginia cab and count on its being there. As to calling a D.C. cab, you must be joking. A friend of mine missed a flight to the West Coast because her cab never showed up. I reminded her that both National and Dulles airports are in Virginia. Since then she has called Virginia cabs and hasn't missed a flight.

3. Virginia cabs have a meter. So I know that I am being charged the going rate. In D.C. you can rely on the zone system for the city. But from D.C. to Virginia, the driver engages in some calculations nobody can follow: for the same trip I have paid any amount from $4.50 to $7.80, and received a garbled but determined explanation for the higher fare.

Ergo: unless and until D.C. cabs get their act together, I shall prefer to ride Virginia cabs from the District to Virginia.