It’s sleek, affordable, easy to manoeuvre in traffic, and only requires a small amount of petrol to run. No wonder then, the number of motorcycles registered in the capital is likely to double, when compared to the past four years.
According to data collected from the Excise and Taxation department, 68,387 motorcycles were registered from 2009 to 2012, revealing a 96 per cent have increase in their number. In 2009, 12,020 bikes were registered, with the figure rising to 16,091 a year later. In 2011, 16,738 motorbikes were registered, while last year the number rose to 23,538, the greatest increase in the last four years, said Excise and Taxation Director Naila Baqir.
Citing affordability as the main reason, the official said the availability of lease options introduced in 2000 had driven up the demand for motorcycles. In the first six months of the current year, 16,399 motorcycles were registered. The figure is expected to rise further and break previous records, the official added. “The absence of a reliable public transport system is a major factor. Since motorbikes are affordable for the majority of commuters, they prefer them.”
According to a local dealer, over 60 local, Chinese and Japanese brands of motorcycles are being manufactured in the country. The major brands are Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Hero, United, Ravi, Super Asia and Royal Prince.
Qazi Trading Company has been selling motorcycles in Rawalpindi for the past 10 years. An employee of the company who requested anonymity told The Express Tribune that they sell 10 brands of motorcycles and an average of 60,000 motorcycles are sold on instalments every month. “Most customers who cannot pay a lump sum, prefer instalments,” he added.
Muhammad Ibrahim, a dealer in Aabpara Market, said the majority of commuters who purchased on instalments were salaried workers or students, but small traders also avail this opportunity. Japanese brands such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha motorcycles are expensive and their prices start from Rs70,000 to Rs90,000, so most customers prefer to buy local bikes which are available for Rs30,000 to Rs50,000. “It is easy to purchase local bikes on instalments and customers prefer them for this reason,” he added.
Muhammad Ali, a university student who purchased a Honda CD 70 motorcycle on instalments, said he was not in a position to pay in one go.
“Instead of travelling by public transport and paying high fares, it’s better to buy a motorbike,” said Khalid Ahmed, an employee of the housing ministry. Two years ago I used to travel by public transport, which is also inconvenient, while a bike is cost-effective and saves time, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.