7 Reasons why getting a two-wheeler is the need of the hour
The coronavirus pandemic may have brought about several changes to your life in the last few months – from working from home to staying away from public transport. Now is the right time to think of buying a two-wheeler because it’s ceased to be a want but a need. Even if you don’t consider the pandemic and the current state of the world, then too, buying a two-wheeler is still a prudent decision.
Commuting during peak hours on the roads of India’s four biggest cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata – takes 149% more time than it should, according to global management consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In other words, residents of these cities spend an average of 1.5 hours more on their daily commutes than they needed to. Is that normal for other Asian cities of comparable size? Apparently no, going by what BCG says in a study titled, Unlocking Cities: The impact of ridesharing across India. As per this study’s estimates, the average peak hour congestion in other major Asian capital cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, and Manila is only 67%, less than half of the Indian average. The study also estimated that congestion in Indian metros is set to worsen as 89% of respondents to its poll said they planned to buy a car within the next five years.
According to an article reported in the Times of India, a staggering 700 new vehicles are registered in Mumbai every day. But the road infrastructure isn’t keeping up with that alarming statistic. Mumbai has few open spaces left, and parking spaces are getting scarce.
Other cities in India also face this problem. For instance, have you experienced Bengaluru traffic during peak hours? The issues plaguing the four big metros are common to other state capitals and big cities: rapid population growth, insufficient roads, inadequate public transport system, and a growing army of private cars are all leading to acute traffic congestion. Against this backdrop, two-wheelers can provide salvation. And there are many reasons why one should consider buying one.
Before the pandemic, who would have ever imagined the entire country going into lockdown for not weeks but months! Without public transport during the lockdown, you may have realised the need for having your own mode of transport that you can rely on when such a crisis hits. Whether it is to get groceries and essentials or seek medical assistance when you or your family member is not feeling well.
While the lockdown may have been lifted, the pandemic is not over. This is critical to remember so that you follow all the necessary precautions, such as wearing a mask when you step out and social distancing. Travelling in public transport in a time like this is not safe and having a two-wheeler would let you carry out your daily routine while having peace of mind.
The price of petrol rose to a four-year high of Rs 73.73 a litre on April 1 in Delhi, and that of diesel touched its highest ever rate of Rs 64.58; the price hikes were effective in other cities too. Given the surging price of fuel, what becomes important for vehicle owners is the mileage – how far a vehicle can travel on one litre of fuel. Two-wheelers win hands down over four-wheelers in this regard; in good condition, the former can go 35-40 km on a litre (highways), against 20-25 km or less for a car. Of course, all this varies with the model, the condition of the vehicle/road, and the amount of traffic.
When Yamaha Motors India opened the world’s first ‘scooter boutique’ in Chennai last year, it said it expected scooter sales in the country to get a boost from women buyers. A few years earlier, in a special report on women riders, the Business Standard had quoted senior vice-president at Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd as saying that women accounted for 25% of the company sales. The newspaper also said industry feedback indicated 35% of Indian scooter owners could be women, as sales are often registered in the names of male relatives. No prizes for guessing why women are flipping for the scooter: scooters are lighter and easier to ride. Similarly, in comparison with a four-wheeler, any two-wheeler is lighter and easier to drive.
This brings us to what the BCG study had to say about the traffic situation on Indian roads. But then most of us have probably experienced traffic congestion often enough to gauge the severity of the problem, even without reading the report. Given this traffic situation, it definitely makes more sense to opt for a two-wheeler as they are more convenient while zipping in and out of traffic. Two-wheelers also save time, even over short distances.
A major headache for office-goers and shoppers in most Indian cities – and not only the major metros that BCG studied – is finding parking space. But this isn’t too much of an issue for two-wheelers as they do not require much parking space and can squeeze into tight spaces. This mode of transportation is, therefore, an ideal choice for travel on city roads.
You may have faced several unanticipated expenses since the pandemic broke out. You may have also got a pay cut or salary deferment given the financial impact of the pandemic. In such a situation, buying a two-wheeler makes more sense than a car. It is always cheaper to use and maintain a two-wheeler, irrespective of whether you take a cab or drive your own car. This takes into account fuel consumption and mileage (explained earlier), cost of service, repair, and spare parts, parking fees, and even toll fees (two-wheelers are often exempted from tolls because of multiple factors, but primarily because they do not cause a lot of wear and tear on roads; even if they are not exempted, toll charges for them are much lower). Also, as two-wheelers are self-driven, you’re forced to forgo the expense of a driver – either employed or hired temporarily – unlike a car, you have no option but to learn to ride the two-wheeler yourself.
Easy bank financing
Two-wheeler users in India have a lot of choices as the market is awash with a huge range of products, both motorcycles and scooters, from Indian and foreign players, catering to all income groups. These are available from around Rs 30,000 (for TVS XL100, manufactured by Indian bike-maker TVS Motors) at one end, to around Rs 48 lakh on the other (for the Indian Roadmaster Classic, manufactured by the local subsidiary of US bike-maker Indian Motorcycle).
The best part is the easy availability of loans at competitive rates. Take HDFC Bank Two Wheeler Loan offers, for instance – whether an entry-level scooter or the superbike of your dreams. This festive season now all is possible with HDFC Bank. You can look forward to zero processing fee*, up to 25% lower EMI for the first 6 months^, down Payment as low as ₹1999/-. You can also expect more benefits like fast disbursal and an eligibility check that takes no more than a few minutes. Besides, you can apply online. If, however, you have your eye on a superbike, HDFC Bank has offers for that too: its specialised Super Bike Loan scheme offers 85% financing, plus accessory funding up to Rs 2 lakh. Use this Two Wheeler online calculator, and know the exact amount of EMI for your Two-Wheeler Loan.
Given its huge population, the scarcity of empty spaces between towns or even within a settlement, it makes perfect sense to buy a two-wheeler instead of a car. No matter how sprawling an Indian city, you will almost certainly find facilities such as malls, hospitals, business districts, and residential areas in close proximity. This makes two-wheelers ideal to travel between these spots, especially given their high manoeuvrability and the dearth of parking space.
There is another area where India differs: people’s perception of a two-wheeler rider. In this country, a motorcycle is considered a utilitarian vehicle rather than a lifestyle choice (although this niche product is slowly gaining in popularity). This is also reflected in the types of motorcycles manufactured locally: most have engines under 200 cc.
Riding two-wheelers is also part of a culture in smaller cities. For instance, it is common to see women riding scooters in Pune, Maharashtra and Margao or Mapusa, Goa. As women gain more independence in India and take up more responsibilities, a two-wheeler becomes an essential mode of transport. Indian women are increasingly opting to take up jobs, and a two-wheeler is their daily mode of commuting.
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Read more on how to purchase a two-wheeler on bike instalment here.
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