(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

Vehicle sales rise, Mumbai not worried about fuel price

Fuel prices may have steadily spiked to all-time highs over the past three months, but that didn’t seem to stop Mumbaiites from buying cars and bikes.
Hindustan Times | By Kailash Korde
UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2018 08:14 AM IST

Fuel prices may have steadily spiked to all-time highs over the past three months, but that didn’t seem to stop Mumbaiites from buying cars and bikes.

Between July and September this year, the city’s four RTOs saw a 22% jump in the number of vehicles registered.

And, over six months between April and September, 26% more Mumbaiites bought vehicles compared to the same period in 2017, when fuel prices were much lower — 1.47 lakh new vehicles hit the roads in the past six months of 2018, against 1.17 lakh last year. Six-month data from the transport department, collected from the city’s four RTOs, showed the most number of vehicles, at 40,797, were registered at the Wadala RTO , which caters to areas in the south-central and eastern parts of the city.

The Borivli RTO ranked second (38,290 vehicles), followed by Andheri (33,000) and Tardeo (35,721). The highest rise in vehicles registered, compared with last year, was in April 2018, and the lowest was in September. However, RTO officials said the slight drop in September was not because of fuel rates.

“The fortnight of Pitru Paksha, which many consider an inauspicious for buying new things, was responsible for the reduced vehicle registration,” said one RTO official.

In April this year, there was a 58.78% rise in registrations, which dropped by 1.81% percent in September.

Officials attributed higher registrations despite the soaring fuel prices — before the

Central and state governments announced a tax cut on fuel, petrol cost 91 a litre, and diesel has touched the 80 a litre mark — to the state government abolishing the Octroi tax in Mumbai after the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) in July 2017.

“Until the Octroi tax was in place, people registered their vehicles at RTOs outside Mumbai to save the heavy 7% tax under it , but after the GST rollout, more people started registering in Mumbai,” another senior RTO official said.

Officials said poor means of public transport, increased

fares of BEST buses and increased disposable income among

Mumbaiites were also contributing to more people buying their own cars and bikes.

But transport experts pointed out how the rise in vehicles is bad news for Mumbai’s already crowded roads. Currently, the city’s vehicle population is more than 33 lakh.

“Poor public transport, aspiration of the people to own their own vehicles and easy availability of loans and improved standard of living is resulting in this,” said transport expert AV Shenoy, and warned that the uncontrolled vehicle growth in the city needs to be regulated.

“The government needs to restrict the number of vehicles being registered by taking steps like Singapore, where the people are charged high taxes for a license plate,” Shenoy said.

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