Scooters steal show as public transport loses sheen

The spurt in sale of two-wheelers in Ernakulam is attributed to curbs on public transport. The Ernakulam Regional Transport Office registered 9,446 new two-wheelers in 2020.   | Photo Credit: VIBHU H

The steep fall in patronage for buses, metro rail, autorickshaws, online cabs, and ferries due to the pandemic situation has in turn led to an unprecedented boom in sale of new and used scooters, and to a lesser extent for motor bikes.

So much so that dealers in used two-wheelers say that they often run out of stock of popular models of gearless scooters, since women and families prefer them for convenience and affordability during the uncertain period.

“Demand is maximum for used scooters priced at ₹15,000 to ₹20,000, with models priced up to ₹30,000 coming next. The increase in reliance on private vehicles due to the pandemic situation and the rise in prices of new two-wheelers by a few thousand rupees owing to the Bharat Stage-VI norms are reasons for the demand for used vehicles. Moreover, the number of women looking for used scooters too is seeing an increase,” said Saneesh C.S. of Easy Deal, a dealer in used two-wheelers at Palarivattom.

Ernakulam Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Babu John concurred with the view, saying there was a phenomenal increase in the number of applications seeking transfer of ownership of two-wheelers and cars in 2020, as compared to 2019. “In the same time span, the Ernakulam Regional Transport Office alone registered a total of 9,446 new two-wheelers in 2020, as compared to 14,708 in 2019. The decline in the number of new vehicles has been attributed to the almost nil registrations from mid-March to August when registration resumed, owing to COVID-19 curbs,” he said.

Even as registration of new and used private vehicles brings in revenue to the government, officials of the traffic police and the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) expressed caution, since it has worsened traffic snarls and instances of obstructive parking in the city and even NH corridors. “Depending on private vehicles for daily commute will bleed different modes of public transport,” Mr. John said.

The Kerala head of a prominent two-wheeler manufacturer said the sale of his brand increased 32% in the State in 2020. Customers are making a beeline for scooter models which are popular with both men and women. Contrary to the situation over a decade ago, scooters have stolen the show over motor bikes, making for 65% of two-wheeler sales, he said.

“We recorded around 10% increase in sale in 2020 for scooters. Our used vehicle outlets too reported increase in sales,” said a senior official of another popular two-wheeler manufacturer.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 6:52:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/scooters-steal-show-as-public-transport-loses-sheen/article33497303.ece

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