How almost half a million people travel in Bristol could soon change depending on the results of upcoming local elections. Each political party is proposing major changes to the city’s transport, affecting everybody getting around Bristol.

Labour is promising a mass transit network, new train stations and a new family cycling centre, if they keep control of Bristol City Council. The Greens are promising a workplace parking levy, rolling out 20mph speed limits on many roads, and making bus fares half price for youngsters.

The Conservatives are pledging an “end to the war on motorists”, and have successfully fought off new parking charges. But whoever wins the local elections in Bristol on Thursday, May 2, the city’s transport network will be one of the key issues at the forefront of the minds of many voters.

Read more: Why you won’t be voting for a Bristol mayor this year for first time in over a decade

Read more: How Bristol City Council's political makeup could change after local elections

Labour has been in power in Bristol since 2016, and has rolled out many new bike lanes, opened a new train station with another opening soon, and pedestrianised several shopping streets. But for drivers, congestion remains just as much of an issue as it was in 2017.

If the party stays in power, they’ve promised to employ council workers to fix potholes, rather than outsourcing highway maintenance to private contractors. Labour has also stayed committed to a mass transit system “led by the evidence, working with partners to develop the services that will connect our city for decades to come”.

A mass transit system, with underground rail, was one of Labour mayor Marvin Rees ’s flagship policies. The mayor failed to win political support for his project, which was vetoed last October. The Greens previously called for trams instead of an underground, but have not mentioned this in their manifesto.

Labour has pledged to relocate the cycling centre, where families can teach their children how to ride a bike, from Hengrove to Lawrence Weston. A major refurbishment programme will also be continued, restoring bridges over the New Cut and the harbour walls. New bike lanes could also be installed on both the Bath Bridges and Bedminster Bridges roundabouts.

The Green Party currently has the largest number of councillors in Bristol, and has a good chance of taking power of the city council. If they win, millions could be raised to be spent on public transport by charging employers for each employee who parks at their place of work.

A workplace parking levy in Nottingham has raised more than £83 million over the past decade, and would likely be charged on about 9,000 parking spaces in Bristol’s city centre. The money raised would go towards new bike lanes and making buses “more affordable and reliable”.

Greens have also pledged to make all roads in Bristol where possible a maximum 20mph, apart from motorways and dual carriageways. New resident parking areas would also be rolled out, to clamp down on commuters clogging up residential streets near the city centre with parked cars.

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Resident parking permits recently tripled in price, with Labour saying the scheme had failed to deliver its goals. Also promised by the Greens include a plan to remove parking from bus lanes, and half-price bus travel for 16 to 21-year-olds, “subject to costs”.

Both main parties have committed to similar policies, like building new bike lanes. These include continuing the two planned liveable neighbourhoods, in east Bristol and south Bristol. The one in east Bristol is due to start as a trial in July or August, with the aim of stopping drivers from using residential streets as cut-throughs to avoid main roads, making the area safer from traffic.

Both parties have also committed to bus franchising or public ownership of buses, but these are decisions for either the government or the West of England mayor Dan Norris, and not one that the city council can make. Both parties also pledged to increase the number of school streets, which see cars banned from streets outside some schools at the start and end of each day.

The Conservatives have often backed drivers and highlighted how new policies, such as parking charges, can have a negative impact on some people like small businesses and those on lower incomes. The party also claimed Labour has “completely failed to maintain basic services like buses or roads”, and has previously called for new measures to speed up lengthy roadworks.

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the “slow progress” in improving the city’s cycling infrastructure, and have called for the roll-out of bike lanes and cycle hangars to be made much faster. They have pledged to introduce two kilometres of new segregated cycleway per year, as well as expanding the Metrobus services.

One transport topic that won’t be affected in this election is e-scooters. Last year the company providing the e-scooter scheme in Bristol switched from Voi to Tier. While many e-scooter users were unhappy with the change, Tier now offers electric bikes too.

However, this decision on changing the contracts was taken by the West of England Combined Authority, and not Bristol City Council. The West of England mayoral elections will be held in May next year, not this year.