The transit system in Vancouver is one of the best in the world (despite what people might say) and you can enjoy a lot of what Vancouver has to offer using public transit. We are living in the digital age and that means that using a transit system in a new city is easier than ever if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Now of course you’re going to want to get familiar with the transit system before you get here and I’ve made a full in-depth video explaining everything you’re going to need to know to feel comfortable and confident using public transit. You can check it out here. Let’s take a look at the basics of the Vancouver transit system and the best way to navigate it.
Buses: The buses are like the arteries of the city, they go into every nook and cranny. The major routes run every 8-15 minutes and the smaller routes about every 30 minutes. You can get just about anywhere in Metro Vancouver with the combination of sky train and bus.
Skytrain: The skytrain is what makes it possible to live in Vancouver without a car. You can cover a lot of ground quickly and easily on the skytrain.
Seabus: The seabus will take you across the burrard inlet from downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver and vice versa and takes only 15 minutes.
These are the parts of public transit you’ll encounter when visiting Vancouver and using the system is as simple as opening google maps. Vancouver was the first Canadian city to partner with google maps a few years back and now all you need to do is type in where you want to go in google maps and it will use Geo-location tracking to determine where you are, and give you the transit instructions to get where you want to go.
Yes, It’s actually that easy to use transit in Vancouver. Just type it in google maps.
Bring your smartphone and you can connect to one of the hundreds of free WiFi spots the city has to offer or any of the hundreds of restaurants or coffee shops that offer free WiFi as well. Now let’s take a look at how you pay for your trip.
The first and simplest way is just tap your Visa or MasterCard on the card scanners located on buses or at sky train terminals and it will charge you and open the gate. Simple. (just remember, you’ll need to tap it again to get out)
The second way requires a bit more work, but can save you money along with other benefits. By purchasing a compass card from a ticket machine (that cost you a $6 refundable deposit) you can take advantage of lower single ticket fares.
You can purchase day passes at any sky train terminal at the ticket machines – you don’t need a compass card to get a day pass, but here’s why I think you should.
If you are staying at an AirBnB or somewhere not close to a sky train station and will need to take a bus to get into the city, if you have a compass card you can go online and add a day pass before you leave in the morning. Otherwise you’ll have to pay for a single ticket bus ride before getting to a terminal to purchase a day pass.
I go into much more detail about all the stuff I’ve been talking about and more in my transit video, I recommend you watch it if you want to know more.
After having read this I hope I’ve put your mind to rest that you can in fact visit Vancouver without a car and still have a great time while easily get around the city.