TO THE SURPRISE and dismay of many a regular bus rider in his constituency, Prince George's County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan is making noises about possibly pulling the county out of the Metro bus system. His complaint is that "we're paying too damn much" for the bus service, and that jurisdictional disputes and deteriorating service also are leading him to reconsider the county's role in the regional system.

But before he yanks the buzzer and alights for good, county bus riders may wish to consider the lack of knowledge on which Mr. Hogan's ill-considered threat is based. There is no question that every jurisdiction is concerned aout the future costs of Metro -- or any other local government service, for that matter; and in Prince George's, the worst of TRIM is yet to come. But it is the county that determines how much bus service it gets from Metro -- not the other way around. So if the county's tab is running too high for a TRIM-pinched budget, the local government has the option of trimming its own routes.

In the meantime, Metro Geneal Manager Richard S. Page notes that officials from all around the region -- as members of the Metro board -- are studying ways to reduce the transit system's budget, including higher fares and cuts in service. This, and not the go-it-alone route, is the direction in which Mr. Hogan should be leading Prince Goerge's.