Virgil Soule ["HOV: Never Worked, Won't Work. Can't We Get Rid of It?" Close to Home, Aug. 1] apparently has never used the HOV lanes with any regularity or he would appreciate their intent and success at attracting carpoolers.

Mr. Soule complained that the HOV lanes were used almost exclusively by "cheaters and single drivers plus the occasional tractor-trailer." This is untrue, although I have occasionally seen those without the requisite number of occupants being stopped and ticketed.

I gave up traveling in my own car and, in exchange, I save 30 minutes of commuting time. I also save gas money, cut down on air pollution, local traffic and proudly wear the badge of that part of the public that responds to calls for the public good. All around, it's a good deal.

If people refuse to make these trade-offs, they get no sympathy from me. But I do feel the envious eyes of drivers in the regular lanes as my carpool whizzes by them.

ALVIN CHIN

Burke

Mr. Soule's observations on cheaters in the HOV lanes are wrong. I ride my motorcycle to work every day in the HOV lane, weather permitting, and I notice how many folks are cheating. Cheaters will always be with us, but there aren't that many. It's important to note that the HOV lane is restricted for only three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. Mr. Soule said that those lanes tend to be empty while normal lanes are congested. I've found that HOV lanes get pretty packed during rush hour.

I work in the Pentagon, and most of those I work with come from Prince William or Stafford county. Most carpool or take a bus to enjoy the benefits of HOV.

I'm from Los Angeles, where freeways tend to have more lanes, but they haven't done much to help traffic flow. Under Mr. Soule's plan we'd just go from four clogged lanes to six clogged lanes.

Mr. Soule should quit whining and pick up a slug if he must drive on Interstate 95 during rush hour.

JACK ROBERTS

Springfield