What is public transportation like in Vancouver?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Maria Tallarico

Public transportation in Vancouver has steadily evolved into a comprehensive, easy-to-use system that spreads out across several downtown areas, and past the city proper to the suburbs. There are two driverless train lines, the Canada Line (which stops at Vancouver International Airport in the suburb of Richmond) all the way to Vancouver’s downtown waterfront, which is adjacent to Gastown. The Canada Line also stops in Yaletown, Olympic Village and City Centre (at the major hub of Granville and Robson) and the Skytrain, built in 1986. The Canada Line stations are well-equipped for vistors; some stations even have airport check-in kiosks for streamlined traveling and it intersects at two downtown stations with the older Skytrain system. The Skytrain goes to several different suburbs including a major shopping centre (Metrotown in Burnaby) all the way to the downtown waterfront, with stops in East Vancouver at the Main Street (with access to Chinatown and the city’s science center) and Commercial Drive. Vancouver also has comprehensive and reliable bus service and all train stations use self-service ticket kiosks, easy-to-locate maps and a complimentary help line.

Carolyn B. Heller

Translink runs Vancouver’s public transit system, which includes the SkyTrain subway, buses, and the Sea Bus ferry. The transit system is generally fast and efficient, and a single fare, good for 90 minutes in any direction, is valid on all modes of transportation. Fares are zone-based. Any trip within Vancouver proper is a single zone; if you cross to Richmond, North Vancouver, or other cities, you need at least a two-zone ticket.

There are three SkyTrain lines. For visitors, the most useful is the Canada Line, which makes several downtown stops and then continues south to the Vancouver airport and the suburb of Richmond. Buses crisscross the downtown area – Granville Street is the downtown bus hub – and also take you across the bridges to Kitsilano, the University of British Columbia, and the North Shore. Another way to get to the North Shore is on the Sea Bus, which may be Vancouver’s cheapest and most scenic cruise, a 15-minute ferry trip across the harbor.

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