Welsh-speaking car park ticket machine causes chaos

·2 min read
People queued for up to half an hour to try to pay for tickets
People queued for up to half an hour to try to pay for tickets

A car park ticket machine which only gives instructions in Welsh has caused chaos and left people queing for up to half an hour.

Visitors and locals have been frustrated by the device at the underground car park in Rhyl, Denbighshire.

A crowd formed around one Merseyside family offering translation, while many locals lack the knowledge themselves - just a third of people who live in Wales understand Welsh.

Denbighshire council has sent out customer service patrols in order to help people get tickets.

The delays were made worse when the device failed to recognise debit cards.

A local motorist, who is not fluent in Welsh, said one driver was so frustrated he gave up trying to figure out the machine.
In another instance, a crowd gathered around a family from Merseyside "trying to solve the problem", they told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"The whole point of a car park is you can park quickly and easily," said the motorist, who did not want to be named.

"You don't expect to stand in a queue for half an hour whilst people try and work out how the machine works - or doesn't work in this case."

Large 'language button' on machine

Denbighshire council said: "Our pay and display machines default to Welsh, but there is a large grey 'language button' that people can press to change the language.

"This is explained on the machines; however, customer service management is also patrolling to assist customers on site."

The council said there were two other machines available in the Rhyl Central car park and people could also use the smartphone app.

It comes after a voluntary scheme where house buyers in Welsh-speaking communities may have to start proving they can speak the language was unveiled earlier this month.

The proposed "Fair Chance" scheme was brought in to tackle the lack of affordable housing in Wales, particularly in places where there are large numbers of second homes which make up almost 40 per cent of the housing in some areas.

Jeremy Miles, the minister for education and Welsh language, said: "For the Welsh language to thrive, we need sustainable communities and good job opportunities in the areas where it is widely spoken.

"This isn't about imposing solutions, so everything we do will be in line with local communities' aspirations."