Metro's chief executive, Richard A. White, and other officials shouldn't have needed a "crystal ball" to anticipate that the decision to require SmarTrip cards for use at all Metro parking lots would sharply increase demand for SmarTrip cards [front page, July 23].

Customers aren't asking them to foretell the future, just to use common sense.

With cards in short supply, riders face further inconvenience, and this comes on top of recently increased fares, financial mismanagement and complaints about poor service.

Metrorail customers should consult the House Committee on Government Reform, rather than a Magic 8-Ball, for answers.

ZACH BREVIS

Alexandria

*

I'm done with Metro.

After being a daily rider since 1977, I've dusted off the car and am driving again.

I have forgiven Metro for the escalators that are always being fixed but are never repaired, the short trains during off-peak hours, the crowding, the dirt, the annoying announcements explaining 45-second delays while there is only silence when the train stops for 20 minutes. But the latest idiocy over SmarTrip cards [Metro, July 24] is too much.

Like many riders, I use Metro not because I lack a car or access to a free parking space downtown (I have both) but because I believe in mass transit and not adding to Washington's traffic and air pollution problems.

But yesterday I started driving. I'll count on The Post to tell me when Metro shapes up. I'm curious as to why a 28-year-old system is such a disaster when New York's 100-year-old system is, albeit unsightly and noisy, as dependable as ours is not.

M.J. ROSENBERG

Chevy Chase