Tempers fray as car park ticket machine only gives instructions in Welsh
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Tourists and some locals were left scratching their heads when a pay and display parking ticket machine only gave out instructions in Welsh.
Queues developed as non-Welsh speakers struggled to work out how to pay for their parking at Rhyl’s central underground car park near the promenade, which is administered by Denbighshire County Council.
The queues were made worse when the machine also failed to recognise debit cards.
A local motorist, who understands basic Welsh, but who is not fluent in the language was caught up in the queue to pay on Thursday afternoon.
The motorist, who asked to remain anonymous, said one driver was so frustrated he gave up trying to figure out the machine.
“The man stormed off when the machine repeatedly failed to accept his bank card. ‘Why are the instructions only in Welsh. Not many people in Rhyl speak Welsh’.
“Another family from the Merseyside area also struggled as half a dozen people crowded around the faulty machine, trying to solve the problem. ‘I’m going to be late for my meeting’ another driver told me when he finally got his ticket.
The motorist added: “I paid £4.50 for this all-day ticket. I only wanted to park here for two hours, but I couldn’t work out how to adjust the time because the instructions were in Welsh.
“The whole point of a car park is you can park quickly and easily. 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.”
A spokeswoman for Denbighshire County Council said “Our car parks team are looking into this issue.
“We would like to remind people that there are two other machines available in the Rhyl Central car park and people can use the pay-by-phone smartphone app with location code 804281 as an alternative way of paying.
“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.”
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Same thing was happening with one of the machines in Brecon on Friday, about half a dozen people stood around looking quite dumb founded, No one had the sense to ask if anyone could actually speak Welsh, I moved on to a different carpark, my language skills aren’t brilliant, but I can decipher a parking machine in Welsh,
All the Brecon machines we use have a choice of Welsh or English which is hard to miss.
Another situation where monoglots object to or are incapable of making an effort.
I had the same problem in Hereford….. it only spoke English.
Awful innit. I was in France once and the people spoke foreign and their parking machines was all in foreign too. Ychafi.
Probably helps that the majority of people in France actually read French fluently.
It always tickles me how often we read of people returning from Spain complaining it was too Spanish.
There again I don’t come from a nation of exceptionalists and Empire builders.
Last time in Henffordd pavement works were being undertaken by a film from Mid Wales. The bilingual warning sign had the ‘Fordd ar Gau’ obliterated with gaffer tape.
Obviously the locals were so confused with the bilingual notice that it stopped them seeing the ‘Road closed’ message on the same rectangle!
That might be the time to accord them the level of civility which they so often fail to grant us. It’s a 2 way deal, win-win, but too often these people, even as tourists, want to crack some superiority whip.
I have never found a parking machine in South Wales that does anything other than transact its business in English. I did find a machine with a Welsh option but the bloody thing didn’t work !
Puzzling. I regularly use car parking machines in South Wales and I can’t think of any that don’t have a working Cymraeg option.
In fact, in Cardiff, the Welsh option has significant priority in all Council run car parks (though not so much I think the NCP ones which put Welsh secondary).
Still, not all councils do it the same way and I daresay there are some good little Unionist knee-benders who have Anglo-only parking machines
Rhyl is of course around 18 to 22 per cent Welsh speaking with a large Welsh medium school, cylch meithrin, chapels and local groups. The lamguage is heard and Y Glannau the paper Fro on sale. The majority of the non Welsh speaking are local and very pro Welsh and massive support is given to Yr Urdd and Wales football and Rugby Shirts on show in the streets is often their way of showing their support. Like my home town next door we locals speak street Welsh happily and struggle with more official manifestations though of course our children and… Read more »
I don’t think we should make too much of a fuss as I think that parking meters as a machine are both complex and unreliable. I had a ‘fun’ afternoon in the Lake District with a parking machine that had decided to discriminate against certain banks and refused to take coins. Thus one had to queue and see if would take your card and if not hang around to see if you could negotiate with someboady whose card was accept to see if they would buy you a ticket and take your cash.
Suggest you go to Conwy or Betwsycoed – worst machines this side of Chester !! Huge questions I fear for most councils on maintenance and instructions on phone ups and cars paying
Welsh speaking yes, but not Welsh reading and writing.
Interesting that you separate them out like they are different things. Are you calling Welsh speakers illiterate?
Simply from experience of simply seeing 2/3’s of customers in my area wanting and receiving a Welsh spoken service and only a small percentage of those (about 10%) wanting a written service in Welsh. It never crossed my mind that they were illiterate, that’s your words, I just wanted to make sure they received the service they required.
Damn those rebellious machines who only to speak their mother tongue. No doubt soon a sign will be placed over the machine with ‘Welsh Not’ on.
Or do they have an ‘English Not’ sign?
>>>>>>>>The point >>>>>>>>
I’m not quite following your train of thought.
“Welsh, should be the only official language in Wales”? So, those people born and bred in Wales who don’t speak Welsh (the majority) are to be considered second class citizens in their own country? Also, the vast majority of Welsh Speakers who prefer their reading and writing in English are also to be excluded? A Welsh Apartheid?
Don’t be so melodramatic. But then you comment only to obfuscate, not to clarify.
Back under your bridge with you
I moved to Wales recently. Love the country and the people, and have made a start at learning the language. I was having a similar struggle with a parking machine in Haverfordwest (sorry: Hwlffordd) a couple of months ago, but I was quickly rescued by a couple of locals, who explained how to use the machine and gave me a free Welsh lesson. It’s not so hard if you are willing to try.
Croeso I Gymru Paul. The proper way to move to any new area.
All part of the Brexit dividend. Take back control!
The argument should not need to go further than the official response
>“Our pay and display machines default to Welsh, but there is a large grey ‘language button’ that people can press to change the language.
Absolutely agree on this.
Maybe our Eastern occupiers would do well to consider free Cymru’s relationship with their next door neighbour, since we would likely be one of their major suppliers of water and energy after we escape the disunion.
Such a none story. So the claim is the machine was only given instructions in Welsh the bilingual button is available for all these pay a d display.. The tactual story is the machine wasn’t accepting debit cards which most people use now instead of cash.
“there is a large grey ‘language button’ that people can press to change the language.”
Simply confirms that being dwyieithog improves one’s IQ.
‘Why are the instructions only in Welsh. Not many people in Rhyl speak Welsh’
Learn. (like Paul has above 😉 )
It’s not only Rhyl, not in high summer. I spent yesterday photographing the Elan Valley. Of all the people I greeted with a bore or prynhawn da, I had one p’nawn da in reply. The proportion is irrelevant: this is a different country. How do people survive visiting France, Spain, Thailand?
I said Bore Da to a couple in Tenby a few months back and the woman smiled and said that she couldn’t speak Polish,