During the next few weeks, the District government will probably change the way it handles bus fares for students. For one thing, the City Council has ordered an end to reduced fares for suburban children who attend school in town. If the mayor signs the bill - and we think he should - those students will have to pay full fares for subways and buses, just as city students must do if they attend school in Maryland or Virginia. According to the District's transportation office, this new arrangement may result in the government's saving as much as $500,000 each year.

As for District students, the City Council will hold hearings on April 25 to gigure out how subsidies for subway fares ought to work. For years, students have received discounts when they rode the bus to and from school. Eventually trains replaced a number of the bus routes, and students found that they, like so many others in town, had to use rail transportation. But there haven't been any discounts for students on subways, so many youngsters are paying the full fare for rail and a lower fare for bus.

These hearings will, no doubt, include discussion about eliminating the dubsidies to students who live outside the city. But they will also allow an examination of what we think to be a more important matter: straightening out the student subsidy program for the entire transit system.