The Aug. 7 editorial "Metroboom" may have left readers with the impression that Metro has resolved its rail operating problems. As someone who spent several hours waiting in line for a free ride on the Metro's inaugural day in April 1976, and who has been a relatively constant rail commuter since, I cannot ever recall a time when train service was as poor as the present.

Someone at Metro has been meddling with the schedule of the Blue and Orange lines, with the result that service is unpredictable and Orange Line trains are even more crowded than before. Because of the changes, I inadvertently boarded a Blue Line train the other evening and didn't realize my mistake until I was approaching Arlington Cemetery. After nearly 15 minutes waiting there, a train appeared returning to Rosslyn, but the station manager announced that it would not be stopping! Another train would be following "immediately after."

"Immediately after" must have been measured in Metro time. All in all, it took nearly 25 minutes to travel one station in the middle of the evening rush hour. And there were no announcements of delays in service on the line that evening.

If Metro is going to continue on its present course, the least it can do is adopt an accurate slogan. I propose: "Washington Metro -- our trains are as reliable as our escalators."



The editorial "Metroboom" referred to the recent establishment of "a kinder, simpler fare system" for buses. It may be kinder to some, but it is decidedly unkind to those Route 17, 18, and 29 passengers who travel solely within Fairfax County. They must pay a 90-cent surcharge merely because the bus they ride, after they have alighted, eventually uses the Shirley Highway express lanes to reach the Pentagon rail station. These local passengers derive no benefit whatever from such lanes, yet they must pay a fare that assumes they do.