Easter chaos as hundreds of shoppers stuck in car park with some abandoning cars, as 'council traffic lights to blame'

9 April 2023, 12:51

Shoppers were stuck inside a shopping centre car park for hours
Shoppers were stuck inside a shopping centre car park for hours. Picture: Social media

By Kit Heren

Hundreds of shoppers found themselves stuck in a multi-storey car park in a scene of Easter chaos, as the local council blamed gridlock outside and its own traffic lights.

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The chaotic scenes took place at St David's shopping centre in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the shopping centre said that the combination of lots of cars and the traffic light system not prioritising people leaving the multi-storey car park were to blame for the gridlock.

But some said they were confused because traffic appeared to be moving normally on the streets outside the centre.

People said they had been stuck for hours inside the car park, with some expressing their frustration by beeping their horns. Others abandoned their vehicles and went home by public transport.

The car park was not finally cleared until 8.30pm on Saturday.

One person asked the shopping centre on Twitter: "How can you say that the roads outside are gridlocked??? 'I've been stuck for 2 hours so far on level 6 and still not moved. Just been outside to get supplies and this is the current roads...

In response, the shopping centre said: "The congestion has been steadily easing, however the council-controlled traffic lights are still only letting traffic out of the car park very slowly. 

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"We have asked the council to change the lights to prioritise letting people out of the car park."

Tony Woolway, from Cardiff, said he had been waiting to leave the car park for three hours.

"It was gridlock," he told Wales Online. "Nothing was moving. We went 30 yards in two hours and we were on the sixth floor."

The scene inside the shopping centre car park
The scene inside the shopping centre car park. Picture: Social media

Another woman said she had arrived and 2.30pm on Saturday and saw a large queue already.

She said: "I thought 'Oh, that's weird' but didn't think anything more of it."

But when she came back to the car park, she encountered "gridlock all the way up", as people stood around outside their cars and others honked their horns. 

She said: "There were people there with their kids in the car...it's absolute chaos.

"They've got security on the ramp letting one person through at a time, but there must be hundreds of cars all queuing."

She decided to get a train home to her family instead and pick up the car on Easter Sunday instead.

The shopping centre confirmed that people would be able to do that.