Vancouver

Transit System

Vancouver boasts an accessible and convenient public transit system, offering a great way for visitors to see the city. Most of the city’s top attractions are reachable via transit. TransLink is Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority, and operates a public transit system made up of a network of buses, the SkyTrain, and the SeaBus, as well as the West Coast Express commuter train service. The TransLink website is a great place to find current schedules, fare information, and trip planning tools to help you get around while in Vancouver. You can also call 604.953.3333 for customer service.

In addition to public transit options, two companies operate small ferries cross False Creek to the south of the downtown core, which also make a fun, convenient way to see Vancouver.

Buses

Vancouver’s busiest bus routes run from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., with a more limited NightBus service filling that gap in the early hours of the morning. In downtown Vancouver, many buses will transit through Granville Street, Burrard Street and Georgia Street. Visit TransLink’s website for Trip Planning tools.

Here are a few good routes for Vancouver visitors:

  • #22 – running along Burrard Street, take the “#22 MacDonald” over the bridge to Kitsilano for the Museum of Vancouver and other attractions, Bard on the Beach and a day on the beach. Take it the other direction as the “#22 Knight” to get to Chinatown.
  • #7 or #4 – running along Granville Street, take the “#7 Dunbar” or “#4 UBC” to reach Kitsilano’s 4th Avenue shopping district.
  • #250 or #257 – starting on West Georgia Street outside The Bay department store, the “#250 Horseshoe Bay” or “#257 Horseshoe Bay Express” to reach the BC Ferries terminal.
  • #236 – Take the SeaBus over to Lonsdale Quay, then board the “#236 Grouse Mountain” to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain.

SkyTrain

Vancouver’s SkyTrain is a completely automated light rapid transit system, offering fast, efficient service between downtown and Metro Vancouver’s suburbs. There are three lines:

  • Expo Line and Millennium Line both run south-east from downtown Vancouver, out to Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey. There are four downtown stations – Waterfront, Burrard, Granville and Stadium-Chinatown. Take one of these trains to visit Science World, get to Pacific Central Station, visit the Commercial Drive neighbourhood, or head out to Metrotown shopping mall in Burnaby or the River Market at New Westminster Quay. Trains run every two to five minutes
  • The Canada Line runs from downtown Vancouver, before splitting with one extension going to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the other heading further south into Richmond. There are three downtown stations – Waterfront, Vancouver City Centre and Yaletown. Along with getting to the airport, take this line to visit the Olympic Village neighbourhood, Queen Elizabeth park, River Rock Casino Resort, and Aberdeen Centre shopping mall, and the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet centre.

SkyTrain stations and cars are wheelchair accessible and are closely linked with bus service at almost all stations. SkyTrain lines operate daily, with trains departing every two to five minutes during most service periods. The first train departs at around 5:30 a.m. on weekdays (later on weekends), with the last train leaving around 1:00 a.m. Please see the TransLink site for more information.

SeaBus

SeaBus is a unique, passenger-only, wheelchair accessible ferry service that connects downtown Vancouver’s Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay on the North Shore. The scenic crossing of Burrard Inlet takes 12 minutes and offers a breathtaking perspective of the city, sea and mountains. It departs every 15 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes at night, with the final sailing leaving Lonsdale Quay at 1:00 a.m. (11:00 p.m. on Sundays).

Fares

Greater Vancouver is divided into three fare zones for SkyTrain and SeaBus, while bus journeys are charged at a one-zone rate regardless of the distance. Zones are in effect during peak periods, from start of service until 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Tickets are valid for travel for up to 90 minutes, and allow you to transfer across different modes of transit, as long as travel is within the zone(s) that you originally paid for.

  • One Zone: $2.75 Adults / $1.75 Concession
  • Two Zone: $4.00 Adults / $2.75 Concession
  • Three Zone: $5.50 Adults / $3.75 Concession
  • Off Peak (No Zones) $2.75 Adults / $1.75 Concession

Concession Fare Eligibility:

  • Children 5 - 13 years of age (4 and under ride for free) 
  • Students 14-19 years of age with valid TransLink GoCard 
  • Seniors 65+ years with proof of age

To purchase a ticket on a bus, you must pay in cash with the correct fare – bus drivers do not give change. At a SkyTrain or SeaBus station, purchase your ticket at one of the machines. They accept both cash and electronic forms of payment.

DayPass

TransLink offers a DayPass fare, allowing you unlimited travel over all three zones for one day. The pass is $9.75 for an adult, and $7.50 for a concession fare. DayPasses are available at Tourism Vancouver's Visitor Centre, from ticket machines in SkyTrain and SeaBus stations, and from retailers throughout the city displaying a “Fare Dealer” sign.

For more information about fares and other passes, visit the TransLink website.

Wheelchair & Bike Accessibility

TransLink’s transit fleet is fully-accessible, enabling everyone to travel by bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus. Buses have either low floors with ramps or high floors with lifts, and all SkyTrain stations have elevators.

Many buses are also equipped with bicycle racks on the front, allowing you to combine cycling and transit to get where you’re going. Bicycles are also allowed on the SkyTrain system during non-peak hours. Read more on TransLink’s website.

West Coast Express

The commuter train service, West Coast Express, links several outer suburbs to downtown Vancouver. It is part of the public transit system, but the fare structure is separate. It offers five departures into downtown each morning, and five departures back to the suburbs in the late afternoon and early evening, Monday to Friday only. For more information on the West Coast Express, please visit the TransLink website.

Ferries Across False Creek

Reminiscent of tiny tugboats, two companies operate small passenger ferries that cross back and forth over False Creek, the body of water that runs to the south of the downtown peninsula. For young and old alike, these little ferries are a charming way to see Vancouver from the water, as well as being convenient option for getting to some of the city’s most popular attractions. They also offer short sightseeing cruises of the area.

Both Aquabus and False Creek Ferries offer regular service up and down the inlet, with stops including Yaletown, Granville Island, Olympic Village (close to Science World), and the foot of Hornby Street in the West End. Ferry service runs from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. depending on the season and the dock, so it’s best to visit the operator’s site to confirm schedules and fares.