Vancouver is hardly a huge city, but getting around still requires some logistical planning. If you’ve got a trip planned, take a look at our tried-and-tested tips on how to travel around Vancouver.
How to travel around Vancouver
1. Car sharing in Vancouver
Vancouver has been dubbed the ‘carsharing capital of North America’ for good reason. There are more than 4.22 car-share vehicles per 1,000 people in the city, with over five per cent in some neighbourhoods. Why? The city has a high urban population, good public transport and a notably young-environmentally conscious population. Car-sharing companies such as EVO, work closely with the municipal governments too.
There are four major carsharing services now operating across the city, though Evo remains the most popular. Unlike most companies, this is a one-way free-floating service, which helps people get from A to B without needing to worry about dropping the car back in the same spot.
2. Cycling in Vancouver
Vancouver is an active place and most people cycle. More than 300 km of designated cycling routes crisscrossing the city, which means it’s relatively safe too. Visitors can either choose to rent a bicycle from one of many bike rental shops or buy their own, though prices are steep compared with the rest of North America.
It’s worth noting that cyclists can also bring their bikes on SkyTrains, SeaBuses and transit busses for no extra cost too.
3. Taking the bus in Vancouver
TransLink operates most busses in Vancouver. Fares cost around $2 and you can use Contactless Card onboard. Fares are valid for 90 minutes of travel. Most busses operate from early morning until after midnight, and there’s also a 12-route night bus that runs from 2 am.
4. Hopping on a train in Vancouver
The fastest way to get around the city is on the SkyTrain. There are currently three different lines – Canada Line, Expo Line and the Millennium Line – with a fourth expected to open in the next few years. You can purchase a Compass Card from station vending machines or use your contactless card onboard.
5. Boats and ferries in Vancouver
Those trying to get from one side of the city to the other can also make good use of the mini ferries. Run by Aquabus Ferries, these travel between Hornby Street and Granville Island, with additional stops along the False Creek waterfront. There’s also a whole host of private providers scattered across the water.
Vancouver’s ferry port is outside of the city, in Tsawwassen. From here, you can travel to most of the Gulf Islands, including Salt Spring Island, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
6. Taking taxis in Vancouver
Like most major cities, Uber and Lyft both operate in Vancouver and offer affordable rates for short trips. There’s also a variety of longer-established taxi services, including the Yellow Cab, Vancouver Taxi and Black Top & Checker Cabs. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to flag down a taxi unless you’re in a busy tourist spot such as Gastown or Granville Street. If you’re staying in a more residential area, like Mount Pleasant or Kitsilano, you’ll need to book online, call or rely on Uber.
7. Renting a car in Vancouver
It’s easy, convenient and affordable to move around the city by public transport, but if you’re planning on travelling out of the city, it’s useful to rent a car. Congestion in the city is a real issue, particularly during the evening rush hour, so it’s best to avoid travelling at busy times. Parking in downtown Vancouver is expensive too, though you might be able to find free parking on residential streets. Most streets have metered parking, at an average rate of USD 5 per hour.