Whether you're a newcomer to Vancouver or just visiting, getting around Vancouver can seem confusing at first. How do you use Vancouver Public Transportation? What are the best options for getting where you need to go? How do you pay for tickets?
This quick guide to Vancouver Public Transportation will answer all your questions and help you find the best way to get where you're going fast. There are also tips and smartphone apps to help you use Vancouver Public Transportation more efficiently, plus information on using public transit to travel around British Columbia.
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Vancouver Public Transportation/TransLink
All Vancouver Public Transportation is run by TransLink, the Metro Vancouver transportation authority. TransLink operates a variety of public transportation options in Vancouver:
- Canada Line & SkyTrain Rapid Transit - Vancouver rapid transit runs north-south from the Vancouver Airport to Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver and west-east/southeast from Waterfront Station to Burnaby and Coquitlam.
- SeaBuses - Seabuses carry passengers to and from Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver's Lonsdale Quay
- West Coast Express - This commuter rail service transports people from Downtown Vancouver to Mission, BC
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Using Vancouver Public Transportation/Translink?
There are two options for planning your trip on Vancouver Public Transportation:
- Use TransLink's online Trip Planner, a tool that allows you to enter your current location and destination and then provides public transit options for getting you there.
- Use TransLink's free Smart Phone/Mobile App, which gives you easy access to transit schedules, maps, and trip planning on any web-enabled mobile device.
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Paying for Vancouver Public Transportation?
TransLink has transitioned from a pay-as-you-go ticket system to Compass Cards, multiple-use cards that users add money to, similar to NYC's MetroCard. (The Compass Cards are designed to be "reloaded" with additional money rather than thrown away and require a $5 addfare "deposit" to activate.)
Compass Cards are available online, by phone and at all SeaBus, West Coast Express and SkyTrain Station Compass Vending Machines. They'll also be available at Compass Vending Machines at London Drugs locations.
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Taking a Wheelchair or Stroller on Vancouver Public Transportation
All Vancouver public buses, community shuttle minibuses, Canada Line/SkyTrain rapid transit, SeaBus and West Coast Express vehicles are all fully accessible; each bus can accommodate two wheelchairs.
However, not all bus stops are accessible, so please use TransLink's Trip Planner or Mobile App to find accessible stops.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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Taking a Bike on Vancouver Public Transportation
You can bring your bike on all Vancouver Public Transportation options, including buses, Canada Line/SkyTrain rapid transit, and SeaBuses. All buses are equipped with bike racks.
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Using Public Transportation to Travel Outside Metro Vancouver
If you want to travel outside Metro Vancouver -- for example, if you wanted to take a day trip to Whistler -- and still use public transportation, you can plan your trip with BC Transit. BC Transit is the provincial crown agency charged with coordinating public transportation throughout British Columbia (outside the Greater Vancouver Regional District).
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There are many wonderful island destinations near Vancouver, including Vancouver Island/Victoria and Bowen Island. The public ferries that operate between the Mainland (i.e., Vancouver) and the various islands and coastal regions of B.C. are operated by B.C. Ferries.
Remember: You can use Vancouver Public Transportation/TransLink to reach any ferry terminal. Simply use the name of the ferry terminal as your destination in the online TransLink Trip Planner or TransLink Mobile App.