Skytrain is the Metro / Subway system in Vancouver. As the name Skytrain implies, much of the routing is elevated above ground.
For tourists, probably the most important part of this system is the line to the YVR airport. The Canada Line runs between the core of downtown Vancouver and the YVR airport - but only some trains go there! The rest of the trains go to the suburb of Richmond. The trains will announce regularly that they are going to "YVR Airport" and thus are pretty clearly the train you need.
Much of the distance covered by the lines are to connect suburban areas to downtown Vancouver. For the most part, tourists will probably not need to use Skytrain unless they are staying way out in the suburbs somewhere. Most of the tourist items are located within walking distance of eachother downtown, or they are located in places Skytrain doesn't go.
A Translink ticket is good for passage on Skytrain or any of the Translink buses or Seabus to get across Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver. So, if you do have a valid ticket for Translink service certainly it may be useful to get on Skytrain and travel a station or two but mostly these will be short distance trips of one or two stations. Tickets are good for either 2 hours or one day, depending on how much you pay. Tickets must be purchased at the ticket vending machines.
A new smart card system called Compass is starting soon, but as of this writing only a few types of tickets may be put on this card.
However, there are places along the lines that could be useful for tourists. Here are a few:
+ YVR Airport: at the end of the Canada line, which splits into two sections at its southern end. This is Vancouver's big international airport and where many people will arrive.
+ Main Street / Science World: Four stations from the end of the line on the Expo or Millenium Lines: This station is just slightly south of Pacific Central Station, which is where the long distance passenger trains arrive and depart, as well as many bus services. If you are arriving and departing by bus or train and need skytrain to get to your hotel, this is the station you will be needing.
+ Waterfront: served by all Skytrain lines, this is a major transfer point between buses, the Seabus ferry service, and Skytrain (which is actually underground here). This station is slighly south of Canada Place and its convention center.
The rest of the stations are of lesser importance, and it really depends on where you are going, where you are staying, and what you want to do in terms of the importance of the rest of the stations:
- Vancouver City Center on the Canada Line is close to a few hotels plus Holy Rosary Cathedral, and not too far from the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.
- Burrard station on the Expo or Millennium lines is close to the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, several hotels, and the Christ Church Cathedral.
- Stadium / Chinatown on the Expo or Millennium lines is closest to the BC Place Stadium, the Rogers Arena and the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
- Granville station on the Expo or Millennium lines is close to several hotels and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.
- Yaletown / Roundhouse is close to the Yaletown Roundhouse cultural center that has a number of artistic and cultural events.
However, despite the fact that I enjoy travel by trains, I probably could have done very well without ever getting on a Skytrain. The fact is that most of the downtown is covered by buses as well as the Skytrain stations, and the downtown is very compact with most things being within a half hour walk of most everything else.
The majority of the major tourist attractions that are not in the core of downtown Vancouver are things like Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and those are only accessible by bus anyway.
AVOID AIRPORT RIP-OFF: Buy book of ten one zone tickets from 7-11 on lower level of Vancouver Int'l Airport down below from where you exit with your domestic luggage. Point of sale ticket price at airport is near $10 rip-off from Skytrain machine to extract money from tourists, versus $2.50 regular ticket fare.
SAFETY: Skytrain line stations are somewhat sketchy at night on stops east of Metrotown shopping mall station in Burnaby, down to New Westminster to North Surrey terminus that is. Thieves and drug dealers outnumber armed Skytrain cops about 70 to 1 ( you rarely see cops but lots of characters), travelling in groups during evening onwards is recommended unless you have a dominating physical presence.
Skytrain lines are few in number to tourist friendly sites, the result of Vancouver being a dull, quaint provincial town with pretensions of grandeur; there's no line to the University of BC or West Side Vancouver, although a short subway tunnel out that way would cost a pittance in this very rich Province which always tends to come out short in infrastructure and public services. Elevated Skytrain was controversial, it's a hideous concrete eyesore in a town that otherwise steers towards enhancing natural beauty of city setting, much cheaper and rough and ready than proper subway tunnels world class cities have which are hidden underground, Skytrain systems by Bombardier Corp. of Quebec have been popular with third world cities too corrupt and/or poor to contemplate a proper subway line.
Best part is actual airport to downtown subway service, a rarity in North America.
Sky train is the region's most popular form of transportation, and is fastest, and easiest way to get to downtown Vancouver. Driving, and finding parking in downtown, can be a real pain in the butt, so it's best to take the sky train, than explore the area on foot, which is what we did. The trip Surrey took about 30 minutes, much faster than by car, and you get some nice views along the way.
We took the train from Surrey, and got off near Chinatown. There is also a station near the Art Gallery. I know the one from Richmond stops in Yaletown. No idea about the other routes.
Anyways, we got off, than set off on foot. We visited Chinatown, Gastown, the waterfront, some cathedrals, and English Bay.
Tickets must be purchased at a machine at the station. Most machines require a card, but there is usually one that takes cash. My cousin said that tickets cost about $5 CAD during the day, and $7 CAD at night, but one weekends, day time tickets cost only $2.50 CAD. Tickets are good for 3 hours, regardless of how many trains you use. Most of the time, the tickets aren't checked, but sometimes they are, so make sure you have a valid ticket, otherwise it’s a $100 fine. If your ticket is only a few minutes past its expiration, they will usually cut you a break, but if your 3 hours had long passed, you need to purchase a new ticket.
Subway or Metro they call it here Sky train, with sky train is easy to get around and inexpensive, 2.75 dollar for a ride and you are set to go
They have a pretty nice connections everywhere and easy to take, the underground stations in Vancouver is nice for people who loves shopping, when you get off the metro no need to walk so far
Shopping mall is just right after you exit the train
This kind of transport mode in the city is pretty easy, but in remote place such as in Stanley park there is no Sky train, we took the bus and with our bus ticket we can connect to the sky train
If you do not like to take the bus, you can walk back to the center which is just a short walk and take the first train
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 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.