Monday, September 01, 2014

The old BEST bus ticket

- by Deepa Krishnan

Did you know? These punched BEST tickets are now history. These days you get a modern version, like a credit card slip. I got this photo of the old-style tickets 5 years ago, when I went on a bus ride from Sion to VT. The conductor punched them for me. Against the green colour of the seat, the tickets made for a great photo.
I don't know if these old tickets are completely phased out, but it sure looks like they're on their way out :-( What a pity. They were so interesting! And they've been around for ages, with so many codes and markings on them! Here are all the things on the old ticket and what they meant:

1) On top in black, you can see the Serial number of the ticket

2) Below that, there is the BEST logo and it says: Parivahan Upakram - which means Transport Undertaking

3) In the centre is the fare plus 'adhibhar' (surcharge); in this ticket its Rs 9.85 + 15p surcharge. The surcharge has been around for 3 decades now and BEST donates this money to the state government. In response to a Public Interest Litigation, the state clarified in 2007 that the money is being spent on nutrition schemes for children, pregnant women, and new mothers. From April 1975 to July 2006, this has amounted to Rs 321.8 crores of donations.

4) In the centre there is a vertical line, and it is used to mark special or concessionary classes of ticket - Baalak (child), Khaas (special), Saamaan (luggage), Jod (valid with something else, additional ticket)

5) Punching system - On the left there is a series of numbers, from 1 to 26, this shows the stops on the route (onward). There is a similar set of numbers on the right, those are the stops on the return route. The conductor will punch the stop that you are going to get down at.

6) Right at the bottom we have 'Bruhmumbai Vidyut Purvatha Ani Parivahan Upakram' - Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking.

7) And below that it says something like "Niyamanusar something something ticket" I can't read that bit clearly.

Anyone who knows more, please correct me!

The new ticket is here, in case you want to have a look.

5 comments:

Haddock said...

As a kid I used to collect these tickets and use it as currency while playing "house house"

Anjali Koli said...

Yeah even we used it as currency like Haddock mentions. We also made those ticket bags like the conductors carried, with notebook hardcovers and stapling the ticket bunches on it when we played driver conductor as kids.

Lovely write up. Did not know that adhibhar was a contribution for charity. We used to wonder if that was the extra charge for limited no. buses. But also wondered why it became extra charge for all the buses later. Now I know. Thanks :)

Kaustubh said...

From what I vaguely recall:

1. The surcharge used to be 5 paise initially. I used to board a bus from Matunga Post Office and get down at Hindu Colony every day. The bus conductors often knew our names and used to give us any extra punched tickets they had.

2. The surcharge was introduced around 1971 war from what my mother had once told me. Not sure if that was indeed the case.

3. The numbers I believe are stage numbers and not stop numbers. A few stops comprise a stage. Or, maybe the payment structure is stage wise but punched stop-wise. The bus stops used to have a yellow board mentioning the stage number for each bus that stopped there. Recently when I travelled by bus I saw that board missing at the bus stop.

4. There were generally single pole stops and only major stops had a structure. These days many stops have a structure and advert on top. Which made me feel a little sad because we would hold those poles and do a merry-go-round. The word "pole-dance" was not known then.

5. Quite often the buses would not halt or halt after the bus stop if the bus was full or the conductor was cranky. Wonder if that continues to be the case or has reduced in occurrence.

Rama Thapa said...

very great blog. i also like to share about my psost here. Kathmandu to Rara Lake by jeep

Saniya Binal said...

Now things has changed and tickets are printed by HHT machine. Now Online Bus Tickets Booking is also available. Its safe and conviniant.