By Shaun Gillham
NELSON Mandela Bay business is envisioning the “tuk-tuk” culture of Asian countries will soon be reflected on the country’s roads as petrol prices continue to soar and people seek out cheaper means of running their businesses.
With an eye to what they perceive to be the future of transport, Port Elizabeth’s Moto Green is launching a range of three-wheeled, passenger and commercial motorbikes which are set to change the face of transport and entrepreneurship as South Africans know them.
In Asian countries like Malaysia, India and Thailand, the tuk-tuk has become the definitive mode of transport, where cars are the exception rather than the rule. Thousands of commuters make use of the vehicle to transport goods or simply get around, even loading the family up for an enjoyable outing.
With Nelson Mandela Bay still very much regarded as a “15-minute city”, the sale of scooters has also been unprecedented as fuel prices sky-rocket.
Produced by Atul Auto Ltd, the Atul isi Moto range is rated as one of the world’s lowest operating cost commercial vehicles, which has both personal and passenger applications.
The tuk-tuks are expected to dramatically kick-start a boon in small business, with the starting price for the vehicles being under R30 000.
“We are exceptionally excited about this project, which has already generated an amazing amount of interest, including South African Automotive Week,” said Moto Green managing director Logan Chetty, who has the sole rights to distribute the Atul brand in South Africa.
He said the tuk-tuks could be used for passenger and student transport, water and bread delivery vehicles, mobile vending, hair salons and internal township taxis.
One of his main objectives was to address the dire transport needs of rural school pupils and internal township transport.
Chetty said in terms of the concept to get the vehicles used in the rural areas, the idea was that parents would own the vehicle and then transport their own and other children to schools.
“These vehicles can transport around six children and are suitable for rural conditions. They will go a long way to address transport needs in these areas.”
A1 Autobay owner Imraan Panday said he was very excited to be able to host the first dealership.
“The purchase of these vehicles is marketed as buying a business rather than a vehicle. These vehicles are exceptionally efficient and cost around 35 cents in fuel per kilometre and they have a half ton load capacity. Just imagine the opportunities for small businesses and even corporates and institutions like municipalities,” he said.
Echoing these sentiments, Trevlin Chetty, who is the communications director at Moto Green, said an underlying aim of the initiative was to “contribute to the eradication of poverty by making common people self- dependent through the availability of the vehicles”.
“This vehicle has the potential to revolutionise the South African economy,” Logan Chetty said.
Additional reporting by John Harvey
This is a shortened version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, November 17, 2012.