Report: TA Light Rail Pushes Moped Sales

YERUSHALAYIM -
Construction workers clear rubble following the destruction of the Maariv bridge in Tel Aviv, early Friday morning August 21, 2015. The bridge was demolished in a controlled explosion as part of the Tel Aviv light rail construction work for the Carlebach Station. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90
Construction workers clear rubble following the destruction of the Maariv bridge in Tel Aviv, Aug. 21, 2015. The bridge was demolished in a controlled explosion as part of the Tel Aviv light rail construction work. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Cheap credit, crowded schedules – and perhaps more than anything else, the ongoing construction in Tel Aviv of the light rail – have contributed to a healthy increase in sales of motorcycles and mopeds in Israel, according to Sigal Oz, chairperson of the Galagalim organization, which operates a magazine and online marketplace for sales of two-wheeled vehicles. Speaking to business daily Globes, Oz said that sales of the vehicles have been growing consistently by about 10 percent each year for the past three years.

“The low interest rates and easy credit have contributed to the increase in sales, but those sales would not be there without additional incentive – specifically construction of the light rail in Tel Aviv, which has had a significant impact on traffic patterns,” said Oz. “Mopeds are ideal for navigating crowded roads, and as traffic gets worse, more people will be buying two-wheeled vehicles.”

The light rail construction project began last year, and has closed off several major arteries in downtown Tel Aviv that are crucial for getting people from one place to another. The closures have had a slight increase on the number of people using trains, but the growth in train ridership has not been large because the train only serves some areas – not necessarily the areas where light rail construction is currently going on. With construction expected to cause major delays for at least the next five years, many people are apparently turning to two-wheeled vehicles, said Oz.

In the first quarter of 2016, 4,213 motorcycles and mopeds were sold in Israel, 9 percent more than in the same period in 2015. Overall in 2015, 15,545 such vehicles were sold in Israel, compared to 14,385 in 2014 and 14,168 in 2013.