Odd items found on public transit

An urn with ashes and an angel dress with rings were lost last year

Riders of Prague public transit can be rather forgetful. The left behind 7,464 items last year, ranging from live animals to a funeral urn. Some 2,451items were returned to the owners by the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP), with operates the city's metro, trams, buses and cablecars.

Personal documents accounted for 2,029 of the total found in 2018.

Among the curious items were a stepladder, a pétanque ball, an angel dress with wings, a billiard cue, a bicycle, a devil's mask, a motorcycle helmet and even a refrigerator.

Repeated losses in public transport include medical aids such as hearing aids, crutches, dental prostheses and a lab coat.

Live animals included a hamster in a box, a Yorkshire terrier, a kitten, a rabbit in a cage, and a Labrador retriever.

People also called to ask whether anyone found a climbing rope, drones, a pilot's uniform, or a leather hat with a raccoon tail. A unique inquiry in 2018 was for an urn with ashes and funeral bouquets.

Most items lost are fairly mundane. Passengers in Prague's public transport system most often lose bags, knapsacks, handbags, clothes and keys.

If the passenger finds a lost item in public transport, it is best to hand over the item directly to the bus or tram driver, or to the subway station clerk or the DPP office.

A person who loses something on a bus or tram, can call the DPP lost and found line at 296 19 18 17. When an item is traced, the passenger is informed when and where he can pick it up. All unresolved items are eventually stored at the municipal lost and found office at Karoliny Světlé 5 in Prague 1.

The office was established by the Prague City Hall, and has items from more than just public transit. “Last year, a total of 6,960 items were handed over to the lost and city's found office. Among the most interesting findings were a painting canvas, a traditional Slavic dress, dental replacement, wedding ring, floorball sticks and a cutlery set. Last year, the return rate on the findings decreased slightly and ranged around 20 percent.

Compared to the DPP, the return is lower, as we usually get unclaimed items. Many people pick up items, for example, right at the scene of a loss,” Prague spokesman Vít Hofman said, adding that public transit accounts for most of the items at the lost and found.

Items unclaimed from the lost and found are auctioned off after several months.

The number of lost items in public transit has been increasing every year. In 2014, some 3,746 items were found and 1,206 were returned. In 2015 it rose to 4,746 found and 1,704 returned. 2016 saw 5,601 found and 2,170 returned. By 2017 there were 5,453 found and 2,243 returned. The return rate fluctuates between 32 and 39 percent.

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