ANGRY commuters say they have had to contend with long queues at Chepstow railway station - and risk missing trains or boarding without a ticket - after car parking charges were introduced there.

People have also complained about a lack of notice or signs in most of the affected car parks in Monmouthshire, alerting shoppers and commuters to price hikes.

Angharad Watson, 37, who lives in Chepstow and commutes each week day morning, said long queues this morning meant she would have missed her train if it had not been delayed.

"It took me nine minutes to get a ticket - so despite arriving at the station at 7.07am, I only got to my platform at 7.20am, when the train was due," Dr Watson said.

"Luckily the train was slightly delayed until 7.23am. Had I missed it, the next train is 8.26am."

READ MORE: Shoppers and business owners condemn council's 'ridiculous' new car park charges

The queue was so slow that some commuters had to leave the line in order to get their train to work, and risk being fined.

Dr Watson believes the long delays are due to a lack of knowledge of the new charges, and said more should have been done to notify commuters.


"The machines got installed last year, but until recently the sign said free parking," she added.

"In the New Year an A4 sheet of paper was stuck to the outside sign of the car park to say new charges would start on Wednesday, January 8. There could easily be confusion, especially if you are unfamiliar with the car park.

"People were confused by having to buy tickets and by how to use the machines. I can't see it improving as the machines take so long, and everyone arrives at the same time to catch the two early morning trains at 7.15am and 7.20am."

South Wales Argus:

The sign outside Chepstow Train Station, with a sheet (left) notifying commuters of the changes

This morning was the first that ticket machines at the station were working, as they had not been activated yesterday.

Lisa Riddington, who also commutes from Chepstow most mornings, said: "I've commuted from here for over 11 years and this car park has always been free. Introduction of these charges will discourage the use of public transport as this charge is combined with increased fares and unreliable trains services.

"We are in an era when we have a climate emergency and Chepstow traffic is gridlocked during the morning and evening at peak travel times, with one of the most polluted roads in the country.

"It is environmentally irresponsible of the council to introduce charges specifically on this car park when our politicians and local government should be doing all they can to encourage public transport use."

This week, shoppers have also criticised the decision to increase parking charges, and some - like John Keysell - have said they will not travel to Chepstow as much anymore.

Mr Keysell, 72, who travels to Chepstow from the Forest of Dean, said he would not have known about the price rises if a friend had not notified him on Facebook.

"When I saw that post my heart just sank for the town," he said. "I used to go there twice a week, but now I go once a month and that's enough for me.

"Around 12 shops that I know of shut in Chepstow in the last year because people were not using them, and it is because people would rather stay at home and shop online than pay these charges.

"I have good friends who are business owners in Chepstow who are very concerned about these changes.

"I have lived in Michigan, America, where a town made a similar decision. I went back not long ago and all that was left was a wall with a mural. I am convinced Chepstow won't survive this, and the council have a responsibility to put a stop to it."

South Wales Argus:

The sign by the ticket machine, which does not display any tariff changes

Monmouthshire County Council says signs will be erected today at every affected car park, other than Chepstow railway station, to highlight the new price rises.

A council spokesman said: "The car parking charge increases that were implemented from Wednesday, January 8 were agreed as part of the budget set for 2019/20.

"Notices indicating the changes were advertised in local press on December 18, and copies of the notice were erected in our car parks.

"Information about the imminent tariff changes will be visible in every car park by Friday, January 10.

"There is an exception in Chepstow Train Station car park, as it has not yet been fully commissioned, but new tariff boards will be erected in the near future.”