For nearly 40 years, Delhi Transport Corporation’s (DTC’s) little pink all-routes pass has been a badge of honour for students of Delhi University. For an astonishing Rs 12.50 per month, generations have claimed the ticket to ride from Mehrauli to Majnu Ka Tila, Shalimar Bagh to Shahdara — and everywhere in between. And the unions have been touchy enough to begin breaking buses at the slightest whisper of raising the tariff to a more reasonable sum.
The First Year Class of 2007-08 — and all their seniors — could lose the privilege. Starting July, DTC’s monthly student pass could cost up to Rs 100. A note prepared by the Transport Department — setting a band of Rs 50-100 for the pass — was expected to be cleared by the cabinet on Monday, but the meeting was — for unrelated reasons — put back to later this week.
Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf said: “Passes for students and some other sections have been draining the resources of DTC. We want to bridge the gap”. DTC loses about Rs 100 crore annually on subsidised student passes and other concessions.
BJP leader and 1978 DU students union president Vijay Goel spoke fondly about the pass. “It used to be a passport for travel all over the city… the memories are still fresh,” he said.
The coming of the Redlines and Bluelines, and increasing affluence have, over the years, made DTC’s little pink pass less attractive to students. Hence, the passing of the era of nearly-free travel is unlikely to be mourned too far beyond student leaders with an eye on union elections.However, college will never be the same again.