Banker Mehedi Hasan Rakib Sunday took a rickshaw from his Jurain residence to his office at Banglamotor at Tk350. On his way back home in the afternoon, he reached halfway to Motijheel by rickshaw at Tk200.
Rakib said commuting to office used to cost him only Tk50 per day in normal time, while he now pays around Tk700-Tk800, plus faces the sufferings.
Like Rakib, office-goers and patients' attendants who had to come out Sunday complained over hefty transportation costs in the capital as all motorised vehicles remain off the road during the ongoing 14-day movement restrictions to curb the runaway Covid-19 infections.
However, emergency services and banks are open while most of the factories remain shuttered.
Kazi Hasibul Islam Shanto came from Abdullahpur to Birdem Hospital in Dhaka's Shahbagh Sunday as his mother was undergoing treatment at the hospital. He commuted the more than 20km route by a rickshaw at Tk700.
"The journey was terrific," said Shanto.
Another commuter Alamin Hossain from Narayanganj, who said he was going to donate blood to his cousin at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, had a bit of a different story.
Starting the journey from Narayanganj's Rupganj, Alamin spent Tk350 to reach only Shahbagh by rickshaw and then was stopped by a mobile court.
"The court asked me to show a medical document to prove that I was actually going to hospital. As I did not have any paper, it fined me Tk500 and told me to go on foot," said Alamin.
"Where would we go if the lockdowns only bring us such miseries and sufferings," he raised the question.
Too many rickshaws
Police said the number of rickshaws on Dhaka street increased manifold during the lockdown.
Rickshaw-pullers said many people who lost their income in the lockdown switched to rickshaw-pulling. Besides, a number of rickshaws from the outskirts of the capital hit the Dhaka streets to cash in on the ban on motorised vehicles.
"Our income has increased a bit. We used to earn Tk500-Tk700 a day, but the daily income is now over Tk1,000," said Omar Farooq, a rickshaw-puller from Dakshingaon area of Dhaka's Khilgaon.
"Rickshaw fares are higher now, in some cases double than the usual. Besides, we are getting more passengers," said another rickshaw-puller Nur-Mohammad.
Omar Farooq said many low-income people have joined them in transporting passengers to survive the virus-led economic crises and for a better income.
Mohammad Al-Amin from Dhaka's Madartek is one of them who switched to rickshaw-pulling. He used to drive a human hauler.
Al-Amin said, "There are too many rickshaws at every intersection waiting for passengers today. Those even prompted congestion at some key points."
Md Mehedi Hasan, Khilgaon Zone traffic sergeant of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), said, "Since people cannot go out with their cars in this lockdown, rickshaws are the only alternative."
Another traffic Sergeant Debabrata Mahajan Sukanto said they cannot detain the rickshaw-pullers on humanitarian grounds. But the growing number of the three wheelers has been appearing as a challenge to traffic control.
Mofizur Rahman, a police sub-inspector who was in-charge of Maghbazar checkpoint, said the traffic movement slightly rose Sunday compared to the previous two days.
On Sunday, DMP arrested 587 people on charge of flouting the movement curbs as DMP mobile courts fined 233 individuals a total of Tk100,950. Besides, the DMP traffic branch fined 521 cars Tk1,272,000.