Public Transportation in Vancouver

Don’t want to own a car while living in Vancouver? If you are relocating to Vancouver for work or adventure, know that many expats find the city easy to navigate the city, even if they live in the suburbs. Some expats even report that owning a vehicle put them at a  disadvantage, as parking in some areas can expensive and difficult to come by.  Public Transportation in Vancouver is operated by TransLink, and is comprised of an extensive range of trains, buses, shared ride services and even a boat! Here’s the Lowdown on the Vancouver Public Transportation System.

Types of Public Transportation in Vancouver

There are plenty of ways to get around Vancouver and its suburbs without owning your own vehicle.

  • Take the SkyTrain. There are three lines and 47 stations on this driverless light rail transit system.  They connect downtown to the suburbs of Surrey, Burnaby and New Westminster. When transferring between lines, you can expect a short wait of only from two to seven minutes. StyTrain’s three lines include the Expo Line, which has 20 stations and runs from Waterfront Station in Vancouver to King George Station in Surrey.  The Millennium Line, with 13 stops, travels from Waterfront Station to Columbia Station in New Westminster.  Then, it loops to North Burnaby and East Vancouver. Its final stop is Vancouver Community College.  The 15-stop Canada Line also begins the waterfront station hub, then it moves along south to the City of Richmond and Sea Island. At Bridgeport station, the line splits, and cars go either west to the YUR-Airport Station or south to the Richmond-Brighouse Station. Finally, the forthcoming Evergreen Line is slated to run from Lougheed Town Centre Station in Burnaby, to Douglas Station in the northwest area of the city.
  • Ride a bus. Buses are plentiful and convenient in Vancouver, especially  if you live near a bus stop (when you are choosing your living situation, proximity to a bus stop is something important to consider!). Vancouver’s fleet includes of low and no emission buses including 262 electric trolley buses, and several hundreds of diesel, diesel-electric, and natural gas powered buses and shuttles. In total, there are 150 conventional bus routes and 60 community shuttle routes. The city’s buses run throughout the central city, greater Vancouver, and there are two or three trips a day to far reaching suburbs like Maple Ridge and Aldergrove and Langley.You can take advantage of regular routes that make frequent stops, express routes with fewer stops and restricted hours, community shuttles, (smaller buses that tend to connect commuters from transportation hubs to residential communities) and night buses with limited stops and service.
  • Ride the SeaBus. This passenger-only ferry runs from Metro Vancouver, and crosses the Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver. it runs from about 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. from Monday to Saturday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
  • Hop on the West Coast Express. Vancouver’s heavy commuter rail train serves Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and Mission. Monthly fares range from $201.00 to $335.75, while one-way passes range from $7.25 to $12.25.
  • For special door-to-door service, ride HandyDART. This door-to-door service is specifically provided for passengers with impaired cognitive or physical abilities. There are 300 buses that operate 18 hours each day.

Fares for Public Transportation in Vancouver

The majority of Vancouver’s public transportation options (excluding the West Coast Express), uses “fare zones” to determine how much riders pay for their trips. The city is sectioned off into zones, and riders pay depending on how many zones they travel in. During peak hours, fares are:

  • One zone costs $2.75 for adults, and $ 1.75 for concession riders (children, students and senior citizens).
  • Two zones costs $4.00 for adults, and $2.75 for concession riders.
  • Three zones costs $5.50 for adults and $3.75 for concession riders.

When you ride during off-peak hours, there are no zones. The fare is $2.75 for adults, and $ 1.75 for concession riders. Additionally, Day passes can be obtained at Tourism Vancouver’s visitor center, or fare dealers across Vancouver. If you have young children, you’re in luck! Children age four years and younger ride public transit for free. You can also obtain Monthly passes (FareCards). These are available for one, two or three-zone travel on bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain, and they are sold at FareDealer locations. To make things more flexible for riders, If you have bought a zone fare monthly pass, but need to travel further into another zone you can buy AddFares. AddFares allow you to travel into other zones.

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Photos: David Meurin,


About Camille

I adore Paris, I really do. But who can pass up an exciting opportunity to explore North America? When I enrolled in a Canadian university, I experienced the differences between French culture in France and French culture in Canada. And there really are differences! For one, French Canadians speak French in their own way. The country is so vast and there are lots of opportunities to find a fulfilling career. While some cities feel like a mix of European and North American culture, others have a completely Canadian identity. And don’t get me started on the delicious, hearty food! The country is charming, laid back and full of life. I’m here to help ease your transition to Canadian living, and give you a few of my special insider tips. // J’adore Paris, vraiment, mais qui peut refuser une occasion formidable d’aller explorer l’Amérique du Nord. Lorsque je me suis inscrite dans une université canadienne, j’ai vécu les différences entre la culture française en France et la culture française au Canada et il y a vraiment beaucoup de différences ! Effectivement, les canadiens français parlent français à leur manière. Le pays est si vaste qu’il y a beaucoup d’opportunités pour réaliser une carrière enrichissante. Alors que plusieurs villes sont un mélange de la culture Européenne et Nord Américaine, d’autres sont typiquement canadiennes. Sans parler des mets délicieux et plutôt copieux ! C’est un pays charmant, décontracté et plein de vie. Je suis là pour vous aider à faciliter votre transition vers la vie canadienne et pour vous donner quelques un de mes conseils.