In my opinion, one of the best things to have come out of the 2010 Winter Olympics is the skytrain Canada Line that now connects Vancouver airport to the downtown area. Tickets cost $8.75, or $7.50 if you happen to be traveling on the weekend or after 6:30 pm on weekdays. However, to get back to the airport, you don't have to pay the additional airport fare, which means tickets only cost $3.75 or $2.50. Single tickets can be bought from the station's automatic ticket machines with cash, credit or debit cards, while day passes ($9) and fare savers (10 tickets for $21), which can also be used on buses and sea buses, are sold at the airport's 7/11. Trains run every 5 min or so, and it takes about 20 min to make the trip downtown from the airport.
The Skytrain is Vancouver's light-rail public transit. It's an unmanned, automatic monorail that travels east-west across Greater Vancouver. The skytrain is the fasted method of travelling around Vancouver because the tracks are above ground (with exception to downtown, where they're below ground). As a result, it flies over the traffic and road systems, and gets you across the city faster than any bus or car could.
Unfortunately, while the skytrain is great, it's also limited. Unlike most cities that understand that a good high-speed transit system needs a north-south route in addition to an east-west route, Vancouver decided that after 15 years of their east-west "Expo Line", they needed to build another east-west line, the "Millenium" line. As a result, if you want to travel north or south out of downtown, you cannot take a skytrain.
Currently there are only four stations located downtown: Waterfront, Burrard, Granville and Stadium. These stations take you east out of downtown, through to East Van, then to Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, and even Coquitlam. Major attractions that are easily accessible by skytrain are: Science World, Metrotown, and Commercial Drive.
Skytrain is a part of Vancouver's public transit system, Translink. This means that you can use your bus pases, tickets or transfers to get on the skytrain. It also means that you can use your skytrain ticket to get on a bus. The skytrain ticket is only good for 90 minutes after you purchase it. One zone tickets for adults cost $2.50.
Also note that the skytrain is based on the honour system. Unlike London's Tube, or Boston's T, there are no gates preventing you from entering without paying. That means that, if you feel mischevous, you can walk right onto a skytrain without paying. However - and this is a big however - there are always officers hopping on and off the skytrain checking for tickets. If you don't present a valid ticket, you will be fined about $170.
Good way to go just site see around the area. Great way to get to Science World. Get a day pass for 8.00 CAN. It is an expanding light rail system that is elevated for the most part. More info at BC Passport.
The Skytrain is Vancouver's mass rail network.
The system seems to primarily service the eastside of Vancouver.
Soon though the there will be a new rail network going to the airport. It's scheduled to be built in time for the 2010 Olympics.
But for the moment Vancouver people will just survive with what they have. A small rail network, which during peak times is jammed to capacity.
If you're here travelling I highly recommend a trip out to both metrotown and commercial ave by the skytrain.
Skytrain tickets only cost just over $2 and are valid for 90 minutes. And you can transfer from bus to train on the same ticket. Neat integrated network.
The Skytrain is Vancouver's version of a subway. Usually running above ground, often running up in the sky and rarely running below ground, the Skytrain is a quick and easy way to get around Vancouver. A regular fare one-zone ticket costs $2.25 for adults, while a day pass is $8.00. Single tickets allow for ninety minutes of travel time (I think) and let you connect to busses; day passes are good for all trains and busses in all three zones.
The Skytrain is a good way to get to and from Vancouver's suburbs of Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, and Surrey. There are two main lines, and both of them go to downtown, where you can get off at Main Street (where you can go to Science World or Chinatown), right outside GM Place and BC Place, Granville Street and Burrard Street. A ride along the entire route (from Surrey or New Westminster) will only run you about $3.00. This will be the easiest and quickest way to get downtown from the suburbs.
SkyTrain is Vancouver's subway system. It's a fairly small system compaired with say New York or London, but it's a nice modern system that runs frequently. The reason it is called SkyTrain is because the majority of the line is elevated above ground level on concrete slabs. In fact the only true subway stations on the entire system are Granville and Burrard. This makes SkyTrain a good way to sightsee. You can get a nice overview of Vancouver and the suburbs of Burnaby and New Westminster just by taking a ride on Skytrain. In fact, on a clear day, there are some great views of the Coast Mountains to the north, and just before New Westminster, there is a sweeping view southward that extends all the way to Mount Baker in Washington State.
There are two lines currently that make up SkyTrain, the Expo Line, and the Millennium Line. The Expo Line is the original line that opened just before Expo 86. It's been extended into Surrey in recent years. The Millennium Line follows the Expo Line into New Westminster, then branches north and curves back and crosses itself, before ending at Vancouver Community College.
SkyTrain is pointless to take in the Downtown Vancouver core. The city busses are a much better bet for that. However, there a few sights that are perfect for SkyTrain. The best one would have to be New Westminster Quay. It's a very nice waterfront area along the Fraser River. There is a Public Market, a Riverboat casino, and a nice walkway along the river. Get off at New Westminster station, and walk half a block south. The other attraction would be Metrotown. It's a huge indoor mall complex that has hundreds of stores, and numerous restaurants. There are smaller malls at Lougheed Town Centre and Brentwood Town Centre. A ride over the SkyTrain Bridge, which crosses the Fraser River into the city of Surrey is also worth the trip. However, there's nothing of interest at any of the Surrey stations, so just get off at Scott Road, and catch the next train back towards Vancouver.
The Sky Train is a modern and comfortable mode of transport. However in Vancouver it is somewhat strange in that the route only goes from the city centre out to Surrey crossing east Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. If you are in the western part of the city you will have to take the bus. Although there are plans for a route to the airport and Richmond.
The transfer can be bought at any of the Sky Train stations and used on the buses too.
Pacific Central Station is now the terminus for trans-Canada trains and trains south to Seattle. It is also the place where you need to go to board the Pacific Coachlines coach that will take you to Victoria on Vancouver Island. This company offers a good value coach-ferry combination ticket to central Victoria.
The Skytrain will take you from the downtown area out to Main Station, which is right across the road from the grand old Pacific Central Station.
The Skytrain is a very efficient way of getting around in Vancouver, and out to the suburbs south of Burrard Inlet. Coupled with the bus network, one can get around Vancouver quite handily without a car. There are two Skytrain lines, the original "Expo" line that went into service in 1986, just in time for the "Expo '86" World's Fair, and the new "Millennium" line which went into service in the last couple of years.
The Skytrain cars are completely automated...there's no one at the wheel, ticket sales are by automated machines, and there are no turnstiles to enter the stations. To keep everyone honest, the "Skytrain cops" occasionally audit the passengers to ensure they've paid, and the fines for non-payment are pretty stiff.
Check out the web site for pricing and station info.
The photo shows a Skytrain train pulling out of a station, circa 1995.
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