259 new vehicles hit city roads every day

Nagpur: Spike in fuel prices notwithstanding, the city saw rise in the sale of four-wheelers and motorcycles. Between April and October, the city’s two RTOs saw a 2% jump in the number of new vehicles registered.
About 259 vehicles were registered in Nagpur every day during the period as against the average of 104 per day in the last six years. Between April and October, Nagpur city (both city and east offices) saw 55,400 new vehicles hit the roads. Of the total new vehicles registered, the number of cars is 7,093 and motorcycles/scooters account for 42,140.

In 2017-18, when fuel prices started soaring — 93,535 new vehicles hit the roads, against 59,017 in 2016-17 when the prices were much lower.

Interestingly, during festive season this year, the sale of new vehicles dipped. On Dussehra (when many people prefer to purchase new vehicles), only 4,565 vehicles were registered with the three offices of Nagpur Regional Transport Office (city, deputy east and rural) compared to 7,469 on the same day last year. “Sale of both four and two-wheelers was down by 30% to 40% during festival season this year,” said automobile dealers in the city.

The current year’s data from the transport department, collected from the city’s two RTOs, showed most vehicles, at 39,173, were registered at the deputy RTO east, which caters to areas in north-central, eastern and southern parts of the city. The city RTO, which mostly covers west and south-west Nagpur, registered 16,227 new vehicles.

Currently, the city’s vehicle population is more than 16.62 lakh. Actual number of vehicles on roads could be even more as vehicles registered with rural RTO too ply on city roads.

Nikhil Kusumgar, a leading two-wheeler dealer in the city, said the demand for vehicles has witnessed a sharp decline. He said 2% rise is nothing when we compare the sale figures of 2017-18 and 2016-17. In 2017-18, the registration of new vehicles in both the RTOs had witnessed almost 40% rise. He attributed the decline to the increase in cost of vehicles apart from curtailment of aggressive finance by banks and other institutions.

City RTO Bajrang Kharmate said: “During the octroi regime, most people used to register their vehicles at rural RTO, outside city limits, to save the heavy 7% tax, but after the abolishment of octroi and its replacement with GST, more people have started registering vehicles in city offices.”

Traffic experts translate the increase in sale of vehicles to poor means of public transport and increased disposable income among Nagpurians. “Both these factors are behind more people buying their own vehicles,” they say.

Traffic expert and joint secretary of a city-based NGO Janaakrosh, Ashok Karandikar, pointed out how the rise in vehicles is bad news for Nagpur’s already crowded roads. “Poor public transport, aspiration of the people to own their vehicles and easy availability of finance apart from improved standard of living is resulting in this,” said Karandikar. He also warned that the uncontrolled vehicle growth in the city needs to be regulated. “Already, the city roads have started witnessing congestion. Citizens are also facing lack of parking spaces,” he said. “Government needs to restrict the number of vehicles being registered by improving public transport,” he said.

Traffic expert Vinay Kunte said reliance on public transport needs to be improved and pointed out that citizens don’t prefer Aapli Bus due to its irregular schedule. “Also, many strikes by conductors, drivers and operators in the recent past have forced citizens not to depend on city buses,” he said.

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