Attention students! Here’s how you can get a free bus pass in Chennai


Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation's bus parked at the Anna Square Bus stand. Pic: Aravind Sivaraj/Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that the state has a wide range of welfare schemes for all students, including those studying in private schools? The state department has allocated Rs 2,717.34 for the Transport Department, of which  Rs.799.25 crore is spent on subsidy for free bus passes to students and senior citizens. Bus passes can be availed to travel from a student’s residence to school and back on all days of the month. Students with passes are permitted to travel in all ordinary, express and deluxe services.

Here is an overview of such schemes available.

Special Concession for Students

To encourage school going children, the Government has provided for free travel in all State Transport Corporation buses (except State Express Transport Corporation Tamil Nadu Limited) for those enrolled in any of the following:

  • All schools including private schools recognized by the Government (1st Standard – 12th Standard)
  • National Child Labour Project
  • Government Polytechnics
  • Government Industrial Training Institutes
  • Government Arts and Science Colleges

Realising the need for the scheme, the state government eventually extended it to community colleges, government-aided private ITIs, music colleges and Chennai Corporation ITIs from 2013-2014 onwards. The amount granted by way of concession is reimbursed to the state transport undertakings by the Government.

There are also several institutions, students of which can avail at least 50% travel concession. These include private colleges, private polytechnics, private Engineering Colleges, students with attendants, attending engineering counseling at Anna University, Chennai and students from Sri Lankan Refugee Camps studying in recognized polytechnic institutions.

Apart from the above, MTC issues 60 exchange tokens for the benefit of college students travelling to their institution and back to their residence. These provide concession on the monthly bus fare by one-third. In order to get the exchange tokens, college students should submit a bonafide certificate with their college details. 

How to apply for the bus pass  

1. Avail the application form from the MTC head office, free of cost or download it online here.  

2. The soft copy (in Excel format) also can be downloaded from the website

3. The application should be filled up by the school authority/student correctly and clearly. The application has a column to fill in the application number. It may be noted that this number is granted by the school by following a simple procedure linking the class, section and school.  The application number should be continuous for a particular class, even if the applications are given in batches.

The application number in the form and the soft copy should be the same.

4. The photos should be pasted with Fevicol in the space given, with no markings.  

5. The address should be clearly given in the space assigned – Door number, Street name, Area and City with Pin code. The FROM and TO should be the nearest bus stops to residence and school.

6. The applications should be certified in the space given on each page by the school Head / Representative.

7. The soft copy is to be submitted to MTC as early as possible.

8. The cards may be collected from the MTC only after furnishing the delivery challan. The format of the delivery chalan may also be downloaded from below link: .  This is basically an acknowledgement containing details about the number of passes issued, that has to be filled by the school. MTC will acknowledge it and submit it to the education department to claim reimbursement.

9. The Soft copy must be filled up in capital letters in “Times New Roman” font and in font size “12”.

For any other clarifications, contact phone No. 9445030515/ 9840058239. 

A few important procedures

*School authorities may either download the required application forms from the site or obtain it in person from the MTC office. 

*The pass issuing agency will visit the schools for taking photos and issuing passes through an online system.

*Laminated passes are given to students in the schools themselves.

*A sum of Rs 15 is collected from each student to meet the above procedural activities.

Period of issue and validity

Passes are issued from June 15th to November 30th every year. The validity period is from June 15th to April 30th.

[Laasya Shekhar. Senior Reporter at Citizen Matters Chennai, and Sakthivel K also contributed to the article.]

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