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Dear Editor,

I read the article Bad Air Days (Aug. 12) and the replies to the article by Jim Nagle and Carl Henn (Sept. 9). While their pleas for use of public transit and carpooling are undoubtedly public spirited, several practical problems exist with both car-pooling and use of public transit. I work an adjusted schedule, from 7:30 to 5 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 7:30 to 4 every other Thursday, with the alternate Thursday off. After work on Thursday, I have a regular appointment in Rockville at 4:30.

Several years ago I registered, under pressure, for carpooling, but nobody on the list I was furnished had hours remotely similar to mine, nor was anyone within 2 miles of me. To get to anyone on the list, I would have had to drive several miles out of my way, saving little gas and requiring much extra time. Further, I occasionally work late, until 7 p.m., and sometimes far later when working on a special project, which is incompatible with any carpooling. As for public transportation, buses that go near my house run every half hour both morning and evening, with the latest bus leaving NIH at 6:45. In order to arrive on time, I must leave more than half an hour early, while in the evening I arrive home almost an hour later. Hence, except in emergencies, I drive to work -- a 15-20 minute drive each way.

Unless some of these practical problems are overcome, many persons like me will continue to drive to work. Pay parking for employees may encourage a few persons to join inconvenient carpools or take public transportation, but will just require most of us with irregular schedules to pay, reducing take-home pay.

Jennie Hunt, NLM

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