Look at the 2 sets of tickets, they both are BrihanMumbai Electric Supply & Transport-BEST, bus tickets. The one above is one which till my generation all have seen since childhood. While the one below is new, exactly like the paper used for receipts after paying at any place with debit or credit cards. slippery, with ink that fades in a day or 2. I’m told its thermal paper.
I don’t like think all things old are the best. But for once i say thumbs down to BEST’s new ticket. Limp, lifeless like a darn used condom. Both the tickets are as different as a cotton fabric & one that is slinky Georgette. Cotton has character, needs to be taken care of & can last plus environmentally friendly. This fax paper ticket is like Georgette, pokes, slippery and you don’t want to save it.
And what’s with the fading ink? It’s pathetic. The old ticket has a distinct personality.
The old BEST ticket is full of numbers, as a kid believe me it was very, very fascinating. I remember as kids when we’d travel by BEST bus we used to collect these tickets. Do you know the number of games kids can play with this? without a pen or pencil…
Then in school, someone had told us we should count the numbers right on top. Which then one is supposed to divide by 9 if i can recollect. Don’t ask me why, how, coz me & maths during school days were like north & south pole. Those are to be directed to my sister types, who’d give some convincing answer. For me BEST bus ticket was for sheer fun. Then the digit one would eventually get after all calculations-imagine there weren’t ever decibels. Not possible, but true. Then for every digit there was a fortune like the fortune cookie. so from 1-9 pre-decided predictions. Can’t remember, usual types, you will pass/fail, marry/not marry, get children -1,2,3…These are vague memories of childhood but i’m sure many Bombayites will share their experiences.
Then there was a game of calculating vertically & horizontally. So you memorise a number then go through a game of various combinations & calculations. Basically this ticket made the bus journey vv enjoyable.
The old ticket also there used to be a message once upon a time. Like many mysterious ways the social message has been erased permanently. Every BEST bus ticket would have imprinted 0.10paise charge, which said would be contributed for the war veterans’ funds. I fail to understand why this excellent social message has been permanently erased. I felt nice when I’d read. Not like the modern beauty pageant types that i feel safe. Honestly i felt nice as a Bombayite, that our transport corporation collected a minimum surcharge & that was being used for the war veterans. 0.10 paise for every ticket on every route on a daily basis from lakhs of commuters must’ve been a bomb in those days. That means it was a considerable contribution on part of the Bombay citizens. That was the most constructive action i think.
Where is the message today? Gone, erased permanently. I even heard like the other scams, the BEST officials had oft & on not made those contributions, for which we commuters had paid! Corruption in India can fall to low levels.
Now the tickets have various colours. They are for the all the routes on the BEST map. In fact as all of you would know we have ordinary & Limited number buses. That doesn’t mean the routes or num of buses are limited. It means the number of bus stops the bus will halt at. Usually these are quick routes & stops are far lesser than the normal routes. So the tickets have these digits & numbers.
Each stands for a route. The digits mean the bust stop number & the total number of stops So like there can be 26 bus stops on a route (see box left ticket). So when we embark on the bus & tell the conductor or master as we call them in Bambaiya lingo, with their clipper they clip on a particular digit. That indicates the stop at which you disembark.
Also there are 2 columns of digits that indicates whether one is on-way or on return journey. It’s really very interesting to see such at a first-glance complex but so detailed & easy method to understand a ticket. See, that’s why i said this ticket has a distinct character.
Now check the new ticket. Soo very boring. It has imprinted bust stop you embark at -in this case Pt Paluskar Chowk as in Opera House to my destination which is Sitladevi Temple bus stop. Rs15 cost of the ticket. Slimy paper with BEST watermark in red. eeks. So freaking characterless, boring. What’s the fun in this ticket? Why would any Bombayite feel happy, proud of this ticket?
Now the 0.10p has been increased as 0.15p surcharge. But the different colours, numbers gave BEST travel a marvellous experience. It was keepsake ticket. Definitely a souvenir to take back home. This slippery chit deserves to be trashed.