Some holidaymakers blamed the difficulties on the fact that the machines’ default language is Welsh. They said because they couldn’t work out how to change the language to English, they weren’t able to understand how to use the machine, and therefore had no choice but to drive away.
Tourists Tom and Diane Edwards were on holiday in Aberystwyth and wanted to go to Aberaeron for the day.
However, they hadn’t been able to park in the town as they didn’t know how to use the ticket machine in the car park.
“So many people have told us how nice Aberaeron is so we thought we’d come down for a couple of hours,” the couple told BBC Wales.
“But you can’t use the machine, we’ve tried to [pay] daily but it’s only [showing to pay] weekly.
However, Ceredigion council said it understood the machines were used by five other Welsh local authorities and the information provided at the machines to support the public had been updated and improved to reflect people’s feedback and experiences.
In a statement, it added: “Following a system upgrade during the summer 2022, the processing and speed of transactions has improved.”
Reports of difficulties with the machines in Ceredigion come just days after locals spotted a long queue at a car park in Rhyl, North Wales. This was also due to problems with a pay and display parking machine.
The machine gave instructions in Welsh, before failing to recognise debit cards.
Denbighshire county council explained there was an option for non-Welsh speakers to change the language to English by pressing a button, but it seemed some holidaymakers could not see this button.
It said in a statement: “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.”
Welsh locals took to social media to discuss the parking machine issues, with some expressing their fury at the people complaining about the use of the Welsh language.
Ethan Jones wrote: “Honestly, sick and tired of tourists and unionist politicians on this topic. The machine is by default in Cymraeg, with an obvious button to switch it to English.
“Welsh in Wales should not be controversial. Check your entitlement and respect where you’re visiting.”
Morgan said: “They need to get over it.”
Sion Jobbins commented: “It’s Wales, we speak Welsh, clue is in the name. Wales isn’t England.”
Luke Evetts wrote: “In all seriousness though, they are difficult to use – regardless of language. I’ve had to talk my grandparents through it over the phone, and other people have stopped me as I’ve walked through that car park (Welsh and English speakers – tourists and locals).”
Twitter user @up_the_bwlch added: “Nothing to do with the language, it’s easy enough to select the language…the rest of the process is a complete nightmare…putting in your reg no, selecting the time or hours visit and then trying to get your card to work is a mare, or even cash as it throws half your coins back!”