A daunting trip to Paragon Interchange after months of shielding

a-daunting-trip-to-paragon-interchange-after-months-of-shielding

A daunting trip to Paragon Interchange after months of shielding

A daunting trip to Paragon Interchange after months of shielding
2021-04-03 04:00:00
Life will probably never be quite the same again but we are all now heading towards some degree of normality with lockdown restrictions easing. While many of us have been revelling in the chance to meet more people outdoors with rules being relaxed, there was a more seismic change for others. From Thursday, those shielding on and off for more than a year can now go outside once more. With that comes excitement but also anxiety. There are also those who may not be shielding but have not felt comfortable heading out much as they read about soaring Covid cases, packed hospital wards and, sadly, deaths. To sign up for breaking news from Hull Live to your inbox, click here. But now, with the vaccination programme in full swing, the situation is improving. That means a chance to go out more and further afield. For many, that means using public transport but that could be a stressful experience. Hull Live’s James Campbell visited Hull Paragon Interchange to see what it is like at Hull’s major transport hub for both trains and buses. What Paragon Station in Hull is like as lockdown restrictions ease While not in the most vulnerable or oldest group of people, I am no longer a spring chicken and suffer from asthma which left me hospitalised twice three years ago. Apparently, that is not enough for me to get the vaccine yet but that is another debate. But it does put me in that group who do not feel very comfortable heading into areas where I know there will be crowds. Luckily, I have a car so I’m not dependent on public transport but I did often get the train for days out or to further afield before the pandemic. What Paragon Station in Hull is like as lockdown restrictions ease I have not stepped into Paragon Station for more than a year and I felt compelled to find out what it was like now infection rates are falling. For those who have regularly been using transport, this description of my visit and what I found will not make for terribly exciting reading. But for those torn over whether to head into town on public transport or not, hopefully it will provide some kind of insight. Stepping inside, what immediately struck me is just how clean it all is. With fewer customers and many of the shops and eateries closed, there was hardly any rubbish at all. New travel information displays at the bus station at Hull Paragon Interchange Secondly, the new interchange screens have been installed which makes for a clearer display of the travel information. But what might be most encouraging for those a little nervous about heading into town on public transport was just how relaxed it was. Understandably, train passengers remain very low as we are still not encouraged to travel too far which means it is largely limited to those on necessary journeys for work or health reasons, etc. But the bus terminal was quite busy without it being overwhelming. Find the vaccination centres near you Admittedly, I went on a Tuesday afternoon. Perhaps 8am on a Monday or 4pm on a Friday might be a little more fraught. For now, most outlets at the Paragon remain closed. The only places that were open when I was there was Costa for takeaways and Greggs. What Paragon Station in Hull is like as lockdown restrictions ease In fact, there was a queue forming at Greggs although it was all orderly and relaxed. The likes of WH Smiths, Starbucks and Subway all remained closed. The ticket office also looked a little forlorn. Every booth was closed bar the lonely lights of the East Yorkshire Buses desk. What Paragon Station in Hull is like as lockdown restrictions ease There was much more life at the bus terminal with more staff and more passengers. The train station was very different. It seemed you needed to buy tickets from machines and platforms were pretty deserted. There were some staff around if needed but it all seemed rather stripped back. The waiting room was completely taped but as if some huge spider and spun a white and red web in there. What Paragon Station in Hull is like as lockdown restrictions ease The toilets were open but it was clear there was no chance of taking a seat. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the rules are for wearing facemasks at the Paragon. Technically, you are inside but it is well-ventilated. I would guess around 60 per cent of people were wearing masks but you didn’t feel uncomfortable seeing those without masks, in the same way you might in the supermarket. Social-distancing was largely adhered to with people queuing for the bus keeping well apart. I actually did a similar feature at the start of 2020, wondering round the station on a Friday night to observe what was happening. But the brief was quite different. Just over a year ago the station was plagued by antisocial behaviour and crime. It seems too many people were hanging around the station at that point – a stark contrast to my latest visit. What Paragon Station in Hull is like as lockdown restrictions ease I have no stats but I imagine crime at the Paragon has plummeted in the last year. Having walked around the station, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The experience was not overwhelming. The bus station was busy but people were largely respectful of the social d
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