Sobur Howlader was keen to visit Cox's Bazar with his family as he got vacation and a leave of seven days.
He had been craving for Thursday evening tickets for his four family members at several bus counters over the last three days, but his efforts were not successful as of yesterday.
Many Dhaka city residents are going out of the city to utilise the upcoming three-day holiday – the usual weekends followed by the International Mother Language Day on Sunday.
And this has created a shortage of tickets for buses, launches and airlines.
"We started booking tickets 15 days back," said Habibur Rahman, Malibagh counter manager of Shohag Paribahan. "All tickets for our eight routes sold out early this week."
"We had to say no to at least 600 passengers in the last two days who came to buy tickets," added Habibur.
Sales Manager Md Ismail Hosain of Greenline Paribahan also said people are craving for tickets like it is Eid vacation. The pressure for tickets has mounted since Wednesday.
He added that even their Barishal and Bhola-bound water vehicles are struggling to cope with the passenger pressure.
Jafarullah Abir, an employee at a private firm, said he is going to Barishal by launch with his three friends and he booked tickets a week ago.
"From Dhaka Riverport around 84 passenger vessels depart for 17 southern districts every day and most launches, particularly those bound for Barishal, Jalakathi, Barguna and Chandpur, are setting out at full passenger capacity," said Md Iqbal Alam, joint director of the Department of Marine Safety and Traffic Management under the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority.
He said there has been a rush of passengers for the past one week.
Iqbal attributed the rush of holidaymakers to the three-day vacation.
Even some might have taken an extra leave of days to head home or visit relatives to get out of a long captivity in the capital, he observed.
"So tickets have now become a golden deer. This has created a positive curve for the launch service sector, which had been incurring losses since the lockdown in March," said the official.
Shahidul Alam, chairman of one of the biggest launch service companies, Parapat Shipping, said: "We are getting good response now but we fear that people's movement might come down.
"Presently, we are experiencing pressure for first and second class tickets, but many seats in the third class where low-income group people travel, remain vacant – those used to be occupied before the pandemic."
He said, "This is happening because many development projects have stopped."
Domestic flights are also getting more passengers on board for a week in line with the high demand for air tickets.
General Manager of US Bangla Airlines Kamrul Islam said, "We started booking tickets since two weeks before. Almost all seats of our flights from 18 to 22 February have sold out about 10 days back."
About the rise in demand for tickets, Mozammel Huq Chowdury, secretary general of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a passenger welfare organisation, said people are going to different tourist spots during the vacation, thus leading to ticket crisis.
Besides, schools, colleges and universities, which are now closed, might open by the end of this month, so holidaymakers are touring before that happens, added Mozammel.
"Also, people have become bored staying at home for long. So, they are desperately looking for an outing. On the other hand, vaccines have made people in the country confident about hanging out," he said.