Delhi College has mentioned it is going to take “applicable motion” for the resumption of the College Particular (U-Particular) bus service — as soon as a commuting mainstay for school college students within the Capital — which has been suspended for the previous two years, for the reason that onset of the pandemic.
When requested, college vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh mentioned he was unaware that the bus service was not operational. “I’ll look into the matter and take applicable motion for the resumption of bus companies,” he mentioned.
The bus service, which ran between North Campus and a number of other localities throughout Delhi, was suspended in March 2020 after the primary Covid-19 lockdown was enforced within the Capital.
The U-Specials have remained suspended regardless of all Covid-related restrictions being lifted, in-person lessons being held on campus and all the metropolis’s public transit programs working at full capability.
A senior official from DU’s college students welfare division mentioned the matter shall be taken up with the Delhi authorities’s transport division and the Delhi Transport Company (DTC). “It’s in course of,” the official mentioned with out disclosing additional particulars.
A DTC official mentioned that whereas the bus service didn’t resume after the lockdown, the company was keen to restart it.
“The U-Particular bus service is now not in operation in Delhi. However the DTC will take into account resuming U-Specials if it receives requests from DU or the DU College students’ Union or any faculties. We’d additionally prefer to make it clear that, as on date, we’ve got not obtained any such request from the stakeholders,” mentioned a senior DTC official answerable for bus operations within the metropolis, asking to not be named.
The official added that the demand for the U-Specials has lowered over time, particularly after the Delhi Metro launched the Kashmere Gate-Vishwavidyalaya (Yellow Line) route that immediately connects the North Campus.
“Earlier, we used to get numerous letters from the college and pupil teams demanding routes and extra buses. However, it steadily lowered because of the Metro and in addition as a result of our regular bus routes had been elevated within the North Campus in addition to the South Campus. So, college students who can not afford the Delhi Metro nonetheless use the same old DTC buses that are less expensive,” the official mentioned.
In response to DTC knowledge, the company ran 63 U-Specials in 2007-08, which got here all the way down to 17 by 2019-20.
“Whereas the Metro has taken away a serious chunk of our passengers, these coming from economically weaker sections nonetheless favor DTC buses as a result of the 100 month-to-month pupil cross is accepted even in our AC buses and it affords limitless bus rides, whereas, a single journey Metro fare might be as excessive as 60,” a second DTC official mentioned who additionally requested to not be named.
For many years, U-Specials plied from the Patel Chest Institute in North Campus space to numerous locations throughout Delhi. Lengthy earlier than Vishwavidyalaya was a Metro station, college students trusted these buses for his or her every day commute to their faculties.
A whole bunch waited at bus shelters throughout the college for that inexperienced bus with a yellow stripe within the center (DTC buses appeared like this lengthy earlier than they turned low-floor and classy) with a board on which “U-Spl” was written in both white paint (or chalk when the depot ran out of paint). The conductor would typically be seen standing in the midst of the bus, questioning why he was on it when nearly all of the passengers used their pupil concessional passes for journeys.
The U-special had restricted stops and reached DU sooner than regular buses, which might halt in any respect bus stops on the best way.
Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot, who obtained his bachelor’s diploma in political science from Sri Venkateswara School in 1995, adopted by a LLB and LLM from the Campus Regulation Centre, says U-Specials had been “a shifting faculty”.
“I used to journey from Najafgarh to the campus, and in all these years, I don’t bear in mind shopping for a bus ticket. No one would verify the passes contained in the bus. Who would ask faculty college students? It took me 1-1.5 hours, but it surely was a shifting faculty and free,” he mentioned.
The buses had been additionally the primary victims of any protest on the campus, as college students most well-liked to vent their ire on them if that they had any grievance the college was not attending to. In addition they was once the commonest promise for college politicians. Extra U-specials, common companies, higher buses – these was once among the many frequent guarantees on the manifesto of any one who has ever contested an election on the campus.
Dr Savitri Singh, principal (retired) Acharya Narendra Dev School, referred to as the U-Specials the “lifeline” of DU college students. Singh, who studied BSc (hons) in Botany from Miranda Home faculty in 1970-73, recalled that DTC was once the Delhi Transport Enterprise (DTU) again then.
“The DTU buses had been so unhealthy, it felt such as you had been packed like sardines. So, if we didn’t have the U-specials again then, these of us who lived distant would have by no means reached the college. I used to remain in Kidwai Nagar and took the U-Particular from AIIMS. On its route, it stopped at South Extension and typically at Andrews Ganj, after which straight to the college, so it was very fast. Lacking your U-Particular meant you are going to miss lessons that day. I used to be a university-level basketball participant, so after lessons they used to cease on the nationwide stadium only for me,” she mentioned.
Varsha Joshi, a 1995 batch IAS officer who studied BSc in Physics from Hindu School in 1988-91, mentioned, “My love for Delhi began via the U-Specials. I’ve traveled from three areas in U-Specials — Andrews Ganj, Lodhi Complicated space and RK Puram on the Ring Highway. The largest present to Delhi was the Mudrika Seva, which is the Ring Highway bus service. For individuals like us who in any other case did not get out a lot, the Mudrika Seva was an opportunity to see whole Delhi. The opposite nice route was Quantity 26, which began from Lodhi Colony and ended someplace close to Kingsway Camp in North Campus,” she mentioned.
Rajesh Jha, professor at DU’s Rajdhani School, mentioned the buses had been used for pupil politics as effectively.
“The U-Particular was once an integral a part of the marketing campaign plans for the Delhi College College students Union (DUSU) elections. I personally had campaigned on the Patel Chest bus cease and brought the U-Specials on completely different routes to electioneering,” he recalled.
For Nandita Narain, a DU pupil between 1976 and 1981, and now a Arithmetic professor at St Stephen’s School, the U-Particular turned out to be a “life saver”, fairly actually, when a freak twister hit the college campus space in North Delhi in March, 1978, killing not less than 24 individuals and injuring 700 others.
“I used to be on the Maurice Nagar bus cease, proper reverse Ramjas School, ready for the U-Particular, and an terrible storm began. I needed to grasp on to the railing of the bus cease to cease from being swept away. I bear in mind automobiles had been flying up within the air… The U-Particular got here and I hopped into it. It saved my life. There was numerous hypothesis again then whether or not it was a twister or a UFO as a result of authorities discovered elevated radioactivity within the space too,” she mentioned.