It is 6:45 a.m. and I am about to board Metro for a short 15- minute ride, followed by a short trip to my office near Judiciary Square. No problem, except it is 27 minutes since I left home, just over three miles away.

The components individually do not sound bad -- a short walk, a brief wait for the frequent bus service on Georgia Avenue and on into Silver Spring. However, it all adds up.

The six-minute wait seems twice as long (planners confirm that commuters count each minute of waiting time as two to three minutes of riding time). The trip down Georgia Avenue is pretty good this morning, since we are ahead of the traffic. Why does it take so long for the bus to go from Georgia and Colesville around the tortuous route to the terminal? The total trip time this morning is 50 minutes, about as fast as it gets, but still a snail's pace -- 13 miles per hour.

It has been this way since Metro came to Silver Spring in 1978. When I moved to Wheaton in the early 1970s, the station was scheduled to open in 1980. Oh well, we've all become more realistic about construction timetables. The old express bus is long gone, replaced by a Silver Spring shuttle, which breaks the trip into about two equal parts -- half to get to Silver Spring, and half to get downtown. Not quite long enough to get into a book or a serious article. Like many other residents of the Georgia Avenue corridor beyond the Beltway, I got disgusted and started driving.

But I will join my neighbors in giving Metro a hearty, if belated, welcome to Wheaton.

ROBERT T. DUNPHY Silver Spring