WE'RE NOT sure what's more surprising - that SEPTA lost its bid to eliminate transfers when Common Pleas Judge Gary F. DiVito ruled yesterday that the transfer move constituted a "flagrant abuse of the Board's discretion" . . . or that the city has won a case in court.

But on this one, the city, Mayor Street, and city SEPTA riders, have won big.

DiVito found that the SEPTA board, rather than risk push back from the state Legislature in its quest for dedicated funding, chose to get rid of the transfers - with the net result of huge fare increases for city riders, who represent the lion's share of the transportation authority's riders. He called the action "capricious."

SEPTA plans to appeal to Commonwealth Court. We wonder why.

Wouldn't the time be better spent figuring out how to generate the funds it needs without forcing city riders who use transfers to pay a larger burden than others? Especially now that 36,000 school students will get free SEPTA passes, announced by Sen. Vincent Fumo, making students immune from the transfer-elimination issue.

Another thing we wish SEPTA would do: release their detailed reports that might help everyone understand how they can still rationalize the wisdom of eliminating transfers. *