Even though the BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) continues to run into losses, there’s one aspect where the undertaking is still raking in the moolah and that’s in the lost property and unclaimed baggage section.
According to recent figures, cash amounting to Rs 15.81 lakh was collected from BEST buses out of which Rs 8.26 lakh has gone to their kitty and 11,900 articles were left behind as unclaimed baggage in the last one year. Officials say that the amount has increased substantially -- Rs 6.50 lakh more. In fact, from 2009 till date, the BEST has recovered nearly Rs 46.15 lakh in cash from buses.
Sources claim that most of the times, the money is from a wallet or a purse, which has been left behind by a forgetful passenger or sometimes, wads of cash fall out of their pockets. However, the officials said that the money and objects are returned to their rightful owner after verification is carried out.
“We ask the complainant for a valid photo-identity, the copy of the police complaint for the same, the bus ticket and other formalities before he/she is returned the lost object or cash. We also wait for at least 10 days after the complaint in order to ensure that no other person comes forward to claim the same item,” explained a BEST official.
Since 2009, of the Rs 46.15 lakh left behind, people have come forward to claim Rs 21.36 lakh, which has been refunded to them while the balance of
Rs 24.79 lakh has gone towards the BEST’s kitty.
“We wait for at least a month hoping that someone will come forward to reclaim their money or articles left behind. While the money goes to our kitty, the items are auctioned and the money received from it is claimed by us,” said the BEST official.
And it’s not just money that passengers leave behind in the buses. Often bags, phones, gifts, jewellery, watches, radios, calculators, spectacles, umbrellas and other items are left behind in the buses.
Officials added that the conductor then collects these items and then surrenders them to the depot where the bus terminates. It is then transferred to the lost and found department of the undertaking.
From 2009 to 2013, BEST has collected nearly 45,800 different articles out of which only 8,800 have been reclaimed by passengers.
V Bagul, spokesperson, BEST said: “There is a legal process which is followed if a person comes ahead to claim cash or articles left behind.”