Translink operates an extensive system of bus routes throught the Greater Vancouver region. Within the city of Vancouver, many of these are Trolley Busses, which are rubber wheeled vehicles with an overhead electric wire. These wires criss-cross all over downtown Vancouver. Most of the suburban busses are gas powered, many are the Articulated, bendy type.
The busses in Vancouver are very popular. On the local routes in the downtown area, it is standing room only during much of the day. I found most of the bus drivers to be very friendly. I've actually seen some of them greet every passenger with a sincere "Hello". And all the drivers are very helpful and courteous with befuddled tourists.
In Downtown Vancouver, the two best routes for visitors are Route 5 - Robson, and Route 6 - Davie. These are actually the same bus, they just change numbers at Denman and Davie. They basically circle the West End, travelling down Granville Mall, Robson, Denman and Davie. All of these streets have shops and restaurants along them. Robson is the most upscale, Davie the cheapest. Get off at Davie and Denman and you'll be in the heart of English Bay, a very scenic part of the West End. Stanley Park is only a few blocks from here.
The Translink busses are also convenient to many of the sights in Vancouver. Here are a couple of my favorite excursions:
1) Take bus 250 along Georgia Street. It crosses the Lions Gate Bridge, travels through exclusive West Vancouver neighborhoods and winds up at Horseshoe Bay. There is a very scenic marina here, and it is a major BC Ferry terminal.
2) Catch bus 491 Southbound along Burrard Street. It will take you through Vancouver and the city of Richmand to the village of Steveston. Steveston is a neat fishing village, with historic buildings, numerous shops and restaurants, and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Park.
There are many other places you can go to by bus...such as Queen Elizabeth Park, Grouse Mountain and Lynn Canyon Park. Check the Translink website for more info.
Although we mainly walked during my visit in Vancouver, we used the bus a couple of times when heading into downtown Vancouver. The fare to use the bus in zone 1 is $2.25 each way and the ticket is good for 90 minutes so you can also use it on the SeaBus to get to Grouse Mountain, Lynn Canyon, etc. or the SkyLink which we didn't use.
If you are planning on doing a lot of travel, you can purchase a 10 ticket booklet for $18 so individual rides cost only $1.80 or you can get a day pass for $8 which is also good on the SeaBus.
If you are paying on the bus, you need exact change and I believe that most buses only take coins even if you are paying for more than one person.
We only went outside zone 1 once during my visit, the bus ride to the ferry terminal for Victoria was in zone 3 and it cost $4.50 on the way over, $2.25 on the way back because it was off peak.
Public Transit in Vancouver is tricky business. Here are some helpful hints from somebody who uses public transit to get everywhere.
- Don't believe the bus schedule to be written in stone. They often leave whenever they feel like leaving.
- Pay attention to which skytrain you are getting on. The Expo line goes from Vancouver through Burnaby and New Westminster into Surrey. The Millenium line does a U shaped loop from Vancouver through Burnaby and New West and back.
- If you are inclined to jump transit, watch out for the transit officials and police. The police have almost as much authority as the city police.
- Ask questions if you get lost.
To get from YVR airport to downtown, catch the #424 Translink bus to the Airport Station stop, go to Bay 1 and then catch the #98 B-Line to downtown. Fares are $3.25 peak and $2.25 off-peak. Transfers are free - just remember to pick up the proof-of-payment/transfer ticket when you pay your cash fare. Also, the buses only accept exact coin fares. Duration of journey approx. 45mins.
I dont normally use the bus here in Vancouver, but I would have to say it is inexpensive and efficient, and generally clean.
late night service to the suburbs can be spotty.
Skytrain(above ground subway) is great though limited.and stops running shortlyafter midnight.
for getting around Vancouver the bus is very easy.
ask any bus driver and they are usually most helpful.
in the downtown core it is easy to walk most everywhere.
cabs are also relatively inexpensive. 3 people in a cab usually same price to anywhere downtown.
YOU MUST HAVE EXACT CHANGE ON THE BUS-no paper money
to the north shore ( north and west vancouver)including suspension bridges and grouse mountain- take the SEABUS it is a wonderful mini cruise across burrard inlet
and it is include in your bus ticket!
A very convenient service, although somewhat pricey, and the buses are rather old. They are very frequent, however. If you stay within the same 'zone', you pay $2.25, if you cross into another zone, you pay $3.25. Once you purchase a ticket it is good for unlimited transfers up to 90 min after purchase, including subway and Seabus. The most convenient routs are #4 and #17 to UBC museum and #236 to Grouse Mountain from Seabus terminal in North Vancouver.
Vancouver has a fairly extensive public transit system consisting of several integrated parts that include:
- An elevated automated train (SkyTrain)
- Standard diesel and electric buses
- Dbl length accordion-style buses (B-Line)
- A series of small ferries (SeaBus)
It's not as well established as most Eastern North American transit systems but is steadily being improved every decade.
Bus service in Greater Vancouver is provided seven days a week, 18-20 hours per day, on most routes. Major bus routes operate every 10 minutes or better in peak periods, some as often as every 4 to 6 minutes. Most buses are lift equipped for wheelchairs and baby strollers and have external bike racks.
B-Line Routes offer fast, frequent and limited-stop service on major/busy routes. The buses on these routes run every 3 to 15 minutes. The B-Line buses are accordion-style buses and they provide easy access to wheelchairs and baby strollers. All B-Line buses also have bike racks.
There are three B-Line routes:
97 B-Line (Coquitlam/Lougheed Town Centre)
98 B-Line (Richmond-Airport-Vancouver)
99 B-Line (UBC-Broadway/Commercial)
NightBus is a limited service. It runs every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday until 3am. The current night services connections are:
Scott Road Station
Community Shuttles are minibuses that service less hectic routes. They are lift equipped.
The transit system is pretty good, but be aware it stops running around 1 am. Costs you $2 for most trips within Vancouver and passes are good for about 2 hours. You can also buy a book of 10, which gives a slight discount (1 free, I think).
One-zone one month passes (within Vancouver) unlimited use passes cost somewhere around $60 and are worthwhile if you take the bus daily.
Since transit encompasses bus, skytrain and seabus (from downtown Van to North Van Quay), you can have a cheap multi-experience day. For example, Take skytrain from Downtown to Metrotown mall for some shopping, then back downtown, get off at Terminal and get on the seabus, go to the N. Van Quay for afternoon sightseeing and shopping.
Catching a bus in Vancouver is easy and will get you to most places in a fast and efficient way. Fares must be paid in exact change as the bus conductors will not provide you with change. You can buy tickets or passes at stores or machines located throughout the city.
Be aware that passes will grant you certain concessions if you are within certain zones of the city. To get an idea of the zones, head to any of the ticket machines located at major bus terminals.
The best way to see Vancouver and not worry about zones, is to get a one day ticket past which allows you one day's worth of unlimited travel after 9.30am on weekdays and all day long on the weekends.
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