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12,222 new cars bought in nine months

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Many motorists consider the journey to work in gridlock traffic a nightmare. With the Transport Commissioner, Ruben Cato, estimating in 2010 there were about 600,000 vehicles on the nation’s roads, the question often asked is: how many more can the road network take? According to data obtained from the Central Bank of T&T (CBTT) for the first three quarters in 2013, the number of new cars purchased was 12,222. Compared to a similar period for 2012, 10,877 new cars were purchased. In other words, there has been a 12.37 per cent increase in new cars purchased for 2013 compared to 2012. (See table and graph)


A closer look at the data indicates a sharp increase in the purchase of new cars during  October 2012: 1,471, compared to four months later—February 2013—when motorists bought 1,069 cars. The slump in the purchase of new cars represents a 27.33 per cent drop. Cato reported in 2012, the Licensing Authority registered 27,488 vehicles in total. Looking at a six-year trend, from January 2007 to 2013, he said, in total, 230,000 vehicles were registered at the Licensing Office. With the average motorist spending four hours daily in traffic. What is the effect of that on productivity? Vincent Cabrera, president-general of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers’ Union, said traffic would thicken if the volume of cars on the nation’s roads is increased. Cabrera said not many people would opt to leave their cars home and use public transportation. “Do you see what happens in some of these places to get transport every morning? It’s a ‘rush and grab’ to make sure you get transport, so when you reach to work in that state of mind, obviously, productivity is going to be affected.”


Meanwhile, economist Mary King said an increase in volume of cars on the roads may mean “people are a little more confident that next year is going to be good.” Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz said the increased volume of cars purchased means the public’s taste patterns are steering more toward owning a vehicle rather than using public transport. He said there is need to provide a more efficient transportation system. “We do have a transit meeting scheduled tomorrow (January 3) where we’ll get some experts to sit down and go through the issues in T&T. These are both local and foreign experts who have dabbled with T&T before to come up with a comprehensive transit plan. Cadiz said new things are coming for 2014 in the transportation sector. “We are going to be seeing the new Motor Vehicle Authority coming into parts of the old licensing regime by September 2014. It’s going to be a lot easier, for instance, to license a vehicle. It will change somewhat, the way we train our juvenile drivers and how to obtain a driver’s license.” Cadiz said the more time a motorist spends in traffic, the less productive they are at work. “Obviously, we have to do something about it. One of the solutions is, in addition to better road network, will be the use of public transport.”


Central Bank data

MONTH    2012    2013

JAN    1,290    1,340
FEB    994    1,069
MAR    1,068    1,388

APR    1,109    1,412
MAY    1,279    1,398
JUNE    1,355    1,337

JULY    1,361    1,479
AUG    1,233    1,404
SEPT    1188    1,395

OCT    1,471    *****    
NOV    1,181    *****
DEC    1,325    *****



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