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More motorists shift to motorcycles JAKARTA - As a civil servant at the office of the Ministry of Tourism in Central Jakarta, Cecep, 32, who lives with his family in a small house in Ciputat, Tangerang, decided he needed a motorcycle to reduce his monthly expenses. "I can't afford bus fares because I have to change buses three times to get to my office," he told The Jakarta Post.

He has had to spend at least Rp 20,000 (US$2) a day on bus fares following the fuel price hike on Oct. 1. Air-conditioned buses, for instance, raised their fares to Rp 4,800 from Rp 2,500 while angkot (public minivan) increased their fares by at least 50 percent. "A liter of premium is more than enough to take me to and from the office in one day. Besides, I can also take my children to school first before going to the office," Cecep said.

Another commuter, Sutopo, 42, an employee of a private bank in Central Jakarta, who lives with his wife and children in Bekasi, West Java decided also to switch to a motorcycle. "I used to drive my car to the office. Now, I can't afford to buy fuel and pay road tolls. I will be late if I take a bus or angkot. So, I have no choice but to sell my car and buy a motorcycle," he told the Post.

Sutopo said that he spent at least Rp 50,000 a day on fuel and tolls after the price hike. He said that although using a motorcycle was more tiring and riskier, he had to sacrifice convenience for the sake of his family. Many Jakartans have made the same choice as Cecep and Sutopo.

The Indonesian Motorcycle Industry Association recorded a sharp increase in motorcycle sales -- from 474,000 units in July to 505,787 units in August -- when the government started to float the idea of raising fuel prices. As of August, a total of 3,435,289 units had been sold this year by motorcycle companies, up by 25 percent compared to the same period last year.

"The increase in motorcycle sales is definitely influenced by the fuel price hike. People, who had planned to buy a low-priced car, for instance, would buy a motorcycle instead because of the fuel price hike," Halim Gunadi, president director of Tunas Finance, a car and motorcycle financing company, told the Post. He said that sales figure in October would likely be higher as residents would have felt the impact of the increase in bus fares and most basic commodities.

However, both Cecep and Sutopo were surprised to find that the price of motorcycles had also soared. "I was late. The price has gone up. With Rp 750,000 as a down payment, I have to pay Rp 540,000 in monthly installments for 35 months. My friend bought one last month and he didn't have to pay a down payment and pays only Rp 496,000 in monthly installments," Cecep said.



Posted in Economy @ 14 October 2005 07:27 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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