Dhaka dwellers continued to leave for their hometowns on Sunday ahead of the lockdown amid blatant disregard for maintaining health guidelines.
There were overwhelming crowds at bus and launch terminals as well as railway stations. Most of the people were wearing face masks but did not maintain social distancing at all.
Many failed to buy bus or train tickets even after waiting in queues for hours.
Siraj Talukder, who waited for hours at Gabtoli bus terminal to travel to his hometown in Jashore since morning, said it was an indescribable suffering just to buy tickets.
"I feel like I would be infected with coronavirus on my way home. But I would rather go home and spend time there than get stuck in Dhaka during the lockdown. When this will end is uncertain," he said.
An official at a Hanif Paribahan ticket counter in Gabtoli said they were not carrying extra passengers despite the big rush as they were complying with the directive to fill 50% of the seats.
Passengers also complained that several bus companies had charged more than double the regular fares.
Jahanara Khatun alleged that buses travelling from Jatrabari to Mawa had charged each passenger Tk150 instead of Tk70. She also alleged that many buses had filled all the seats.
"There were even standing passengers in some buses," she said.
Several people were waiting to board a local train at Kamalapur Railway Station as tickets had been sold out before they reached the station. They said they would have to go home even if there were no seats in the local train as everything would be closed from Monday.
Station Master (Dhaka) of Bangladesh Railway Md Rafiqul Islam told The Business Standard passengers travelling by local trains were not adhering to hygiene rules despite repeated requests.
"Moreover, they are in a rush to go home. We cannot even force them considering their sentiment," he said.
He also said half the people coming to the station could not buy tickets.
"People have become crazy for tickets, but tickets have already been sold out. We have to follow the government directives on carrying passengers. Some of the trains were crowded," added Rafiqul.
Launches setting off from Sadarghat terminal were filled to the brim, with many passengers getting on the roof as there were no empty seats in the deck. Chandpur-bound launches carried extra passengers even after taking increased fares.
Faruq Hossain boarded a packed launch in the afternoon as he failed to buy a bus ticket. He owns a shop in Mirpur 1.
"It is not possible to keep my store open during the lockdown. That is why I am heading home. At least I can find a way to survive there," he said.
It was a dangerous journey to travel amid such a big crowd without maintaining social distancing but Faruq said he had to take the risk.
Riyad Hossain, a worker of the launch, was supposed to spray passengers with disinfectants but he was doing so only when he saw police coming.
"How can I spray so many people with disinfectants? Nobody is maintaining social distancing. What is the point of disinfecting them then?"
Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity on Sunday said in a statement people had been forced to pay way more than normal fares even though most of the public transports had defied the government order to carry 50% passengers.
It called on the government to take measures to put an end to people's torments.
Meanwhile, many people also opted for air travel to go home after failing to buy bus or train tickets. Shafiqur Rahman said he had chosen to fly to Sylhet even though he had to pay a lot more.
"My life is more valuable than money. I can even live on salt if I am with my family members in my village home," he added.
The volume of air passengers on domestic routes almost doubled since Saturday. Hasan Hawlader, who works at Dhaka airport, said air passengers were adhering to hygiene rules despite the hurry.
But the real situation was different as many were seen not maintaining social distancing.