Frontliners like all other city commuters on Monday had to fend for themselves in getting to work as the movement of public transport remained suspended amid the countrywide lockdown enforced to rein in the second wave of Covid-19.
They had to count the excessive fares by riding rickshaws and other modes of vehicles to reach their workplaces in the absence of public transport.
Most hospitals, banks and other emergency service providers have not yet arranged any vehicles for picking and dropping off their frontline workers.
Seeking to be unnamed, a medical technologist of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, told The Business Standard that it usually costs Tk30 to go to his workplace from Basila in Mohammadpur by first a rickshaw and then a bus. But it cost him Tk200 on the first day of the lockdown.
"I was worried if I would be able to reach the hospital in time. Our workload has increased a lot following the big spike in Covid-19 infections, and now so has our suffering because of the lockdown," he added.
"We have applied to the hospital director for arranging transport for us during the lockdown," he said, adding, "We have to wait and see what happens. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get transport for going to the office."
Most health workers, bankers and other professionals had to manage their own transport to go to work.
While talking to TBS, doctors at a number of Covid-dedicated hospitals said they were not obstructed by police but it took time and cost much more than usual to get vehicles to reach their workplaces.
Only the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) arranged transport for their staffers on Monday.
Dr Khorshed Alam, deputy director (hospital) at BSMMU, told TBS, "The number of staff members in the hospital has now been reduced owing to the lockdown. Our health workers are being given the pick-and-drop service by the BSMMU's vehicles. But, the volunteers involved in vaccination came to the hospital on their own. We are working on arranging transport for volunteers too."
The government's lockdown directive states all government/non-government/autonomous offices, courts and private offices can facilitate the commute of their employees to work using their own transport on a limited scale. Industries and factories can do the same for their workers.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Monday directed the director general of the health directorate to arrange transport for hospitals that do not have transport facilities for health workers.
Dr Md Khalilur Rahman, director of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, told TBS, "In a virtual meeting Monday afternoon, we informed the health minister of transport problems of health workers in the lockdown.
"The minister directed the director general to arrange BRTC buses in the hospitals. So, we hope that we will pick and drop off health staff by BRTC buses by tomorrow [Tuesday]."
Bankers also suffered to go to work.
An official of a private bank in the capital said everyone had to come to the office on their own arrangements. Their transport cost increased a lot in the absence of public buses.
"Our mental stress has increased this time around," he said.
Earlier, there were allowances during general holidays, but this time it is not there. There is no transportation either. With half the manpower, eight hours of work is being done in three hours, the banker added.
The garment workers suffered less as most of them live in the vicinity of their factories. The local administration assisted the workers in the places where they travelled by bus.