Crumpled in the college student's jeans pocket, crushed between currency notes in the salesman's wallet, lost in the fashionable housewife's handbag and damp in the labourer's sweaty palm – the tiny red, blue, green, grey coloured bus tickets issued by the BEST services in Mumbai are now collectors' items.

“Very rarely do you get to see a bus conductor with the traditional ticket box and punch. I am preserving all the old bus tickets that I can find in my bag and wallet,” said a passenger on a BEST bus. The BEST department has phased out the old bus tickets and replaced them with the technologically advanced electronic tickets.

“We have completely replaced the old bus ticket boxes with electronic devices which have been provided by Trimax. With the new electronic devices, bus conductors can issue tickets as well as renew passes,” said Nandakumar Walavulkar, PRO, BEST.

While the BEST department feels the need to modernise their infrastructure, Mumbaikars are getting nostalgic about the much-loved bus ticket. The bus conductors no longer use their punching machine to punch a hole in the humble bus ticket or click their machine's to grab a passenger's attention.

Art Works

“The old ticket has tremendous nostalgic value. Many of us collected those tickets because there was this rumour that our tickets would help educate a girl child,” said Mithila Mehta, a communication management student. “I had done one entire artwork using bus tickets and a friend of mine had made a calendar with bus tickets,” she added.

‘Gets erased'

Many recall how as young students they used to play games to pass time while the bus was stuck in a traffic jam, by adding up the sum total on the ticket header and matching it with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. That was meant to indicate the name of the person thinking of you.

Many Mumbaikars do not like the idea of the new ticket because they are so used to the old bus ticket in its trademark design. “The new ticket is not something that we can collect because the print gets erased after a while,” said a passenger.

The old bus-ticket may soon become a collector's item. So for all those who still have these tickets stuffed in their pockets or wallets, they can save a future rare collectable!