BEST buses
Picture for representational purposes

There is no space too sacred to advertise on, and no agency takes better advantage of this than BEST. After being bombarded with advertisements on the body of the buses, the backside of seats and even the tiny bus handles, the undertaking is now looking to monetise the tickets it prints by using special thermal roles.

However, there is a tiny hiccup in this plan that could metastasise into a headache if not addressed on time. The BEST is looking at getting new thermal roles – behind which it can print adverts – for their bus tickets at a cost of Rs 3.53 crore annually, which comes down to a cost of Rs 5.89 per roll. Currently, they already have a deal with Trimax IT Infrastructure where they acquire a roll for Rs 7.55, but including the cost of machines and printing, it comes up to Rs 11 per roll.

In the new format, when being issued by the conductor, the ticket will have both the advertisement and the BEST logo behind it. "It will be the job of the contractor providing the rolls to also get the advertisement. Trials of printing advertisements is already underway at Backbay depot," said Surendra Bhagde, general manager, BEST.

However, with the reduced costs, there may be the issue of compatibility and quality that might be overlooked. "We should ask Trimax to ensure that the new thermal papers are alright for their machines during this trial," said Anil Kokil, Chairman, BEST Committee.

Previously, there have been instances of machines not printing tickets, the ink from the tickets fading, or the paper getting stuck while printing.