How the residents' parking schemes work

How the residents' parking schemes work

Information about residents' parking schemes (RPS) across Bristol, like what types of permit are available, what bays there are and what vehicles can park in them.

The costs and regulations for residents' parking schemes are different for each area.

Find out more by going to your scheme area page.

If you don't know which area you're in, enter your postcode on our My Neighbourhood site.

Residents’ permits

RPS areas mark out where you can park on the road. To park in them you must display a permit for the RPS area.

Each residents’ permit can have two registration numbers on it. You can park different vehicles in the area at different times, as long as the permit is swapped between vehicles.

To get a permit, you need to live in the area and show that you are the registered owner or keeper of the vehicle.

In some areas, people without a permit can park if they get a pay and display ticket. There will be a sign next to the parking place to show whether you need a permit or a pay and display ticket to park there.

Find out key dates in your area by checking our Residents’ Parking Scheme programme. (pdf, 123 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 123KB) (opens new window)

Permit costs

Permit costs will depend on the area you are living in. Find out more by going to your scheme area page.

Each household without a driveway or garage can apply for three residents’ permits. If you have a driveway or garage, or live on a private road, you can only apply for one permit.

Types of bay

  • Permit holders only: resident, visitor, business, customer, trader and medical permit holders
  • Shared-use: permit or pay and display parking
  • Pay and Display only: pay and display parking only
  • Disabled: Blue Badge holders
  • Car Club: car club vehicles
  • Loading: loading only
  • Coach bays

Visitors’ permits

The number of visitor permits you can get depends on the area you live in. Find out more by going to your scheme area page.

  • Each permit is valid for one day but can be swapped between vehicles on that day.  However, they cannot be transferred between households and must not be sold on.
  • You do not need to own a car to apply for these permits, but you do need to show that you live in the area.
  • You don't have to apply for all your permits in one go, you can apply throughout the year by contacting Parking Services.

Visitors and commuters in residents' parking areas

How long it will take to send your permit

  • Online applications are processed the next working day.
  • Paper applications are processed within 15 working days of being received.

If your application isn't complete, we'll contact you for the necessary information. This may mean your permit takes longer to process. 

How the permits are sent

Residents' permits are sent out by first class post, but if you have two or more registration numbers on a permit they'll be sent by recorded delivery.

Visitors’ permits will be sent to you by recorded delivery. If you're not at home when they arrive, you'll need to collect them from the post office.

Business and customer permits are sent by recorded delivery.


We have two weeks of ‘soft enforcement’ on the start date of any new RPS scheme. This means that advisory letters will be put on windscreens of vehicles parked in bays without a permit or pay and display ticket. Full enforcement will start after this two week period of soft enforcement.

If you park on double yellow lines at any time, you will still receive a penalty charge notice.

RPS areas are patrolled on a daily basis. Extra patrols will be sent to areas if needed.

If you see any illegally parked vehicles contact our Parking Operations team on 0117 9038070 or email

Bank Holidays

RPS restrictions do not apply on Sundays or Bank Holidays so you can park for free in permit holders only bays, shared used bays and pay & display bays without having a permit. The only exception to this is Bower Ashton where the scheme runs 24/7 except on Christmas Day.

Please note that free parking does not apply to double yellow lines, loading bays, disabled bays or car club bays.

Pay and display

You can either park for up to 30 minutes free of charge using a pay and display ticket or pay £1 an hour to park for up to three hours

In some areas, you may be able to park for longer than three hours. This will be clearly indicated by the sign next to the parking place and on the pay and display machine.

In most areas the hours of operation are 9am until 5pm, outside these hours you can park free of charge.

Exceptions to this are: Bower Ashton, Cliftonwood and Hotwells and Clifton Village which have longer restricted parking hours.

Temporary cover

You can get temporary cover of up to one month to park in an RPS area if you’re waiting for your permit or a V5 document for a new vehicle.

Find out if you can get temporary cover.

Other vehicles


If you have a motorbike you can park for free without time limits in any type of bay apart from a disabled or loading area.

Heavy vehicles

Vehicles with a maximum laden weight exceeding three and a half tonnes are not eligible for permits.

Electric vehicles

These new types of permit will be introduced through scheme reviews. The council hopes to mark dedicated bays and offer charging points.


The council plans to progress permit provision for allotment holders as an area-specific amendment through the next formal review in each RPS area.


Your drive takes up one space on the street. If you elect not to have double yellow lines across your driveway, you can park one car on your drive and one car across your drive without needing a permit.

This doesn't apply to driveways in Permit Parking Areas (PPA’s) where you’ll need a permit to park on any part of the adopted highway, including across your driveway.  Vehicles parking in a PPA must have a valid permit on display at all times during the schemes operating hours.

Car clubs 

There is an annual fee, an hourly charge, and a mileage charge. Everything else is free including the petrol. This is often much cheaper than running a full-time business vehicle. Car club spaces have been identified throughout residents’ parking scheme areas.


You can apply for a permit if you're not living in a hall of residence and you are the registered keeper of your vehicle.

If you live in a shared house, you can get:

  • one permit for properties with off street parking
  • up to three permits for properties with no off-street parking

Find your area and apply for a permit

Scheme reviews

Schemes will be reviewed after six months of their launch and then every year. This provides the opportunity to amend and improve schemes to ensure that they best meet the needs of the community.

Background and reports

See cabinet reports, consultation details and background information about the residents' parking scheme on our background details and reports page.