Getting Around Vancouver

Vancouver cityGetting around Vancouver can be tricky and challenging when you first try to go about it alone. However, once you know what to look out for, you’ll be able to navigate alone with no trouble at all. When compared to the transit system of North America, Vancouver has quite a respectable public transit system.

It is run by a regional transportation organization called TransLink and it effectively connects the various municipalities in the greater Vancouver area. While most of the chief cities of the "lower mainland" region are connected by TransLink, including North Vancouver, Langley, Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Surrey, it should be known that there is no TransLink service to cities which are beyond the city of Langley. Examples of these are Abbotsford or Chilliwack. Because of this, commuting to Vancouver to and from these locations will be much more difficult.

Transportation is mainly provided by buses. There is a well-known passenger ferry service called SeaBus and a rapid transit system called SkyTrain. The latter was named like so because it is mostly elevated. In addition to these means of transportation, three bus rapid transit lines named "B Lines" network the city.

The adult fares range between $2.25 and $4.50. Typically, fares depend on the time of day as well as the number of transit zones you cross. The ticket is valid for 1.5 hours from the time of purchase and can be used to move to any bus, Skytrain or the Seabus transit system during that period. A reduced “concession fare” is available for Vancouver grade-school students and BC seniors and costs between the range of $1.50 and $3.00. If you are an undergraduate or a senior you must be carrying a TransLink GoCard or BC Gold CareCard in order to avail of the reduced concession fare.

One has to remember that buses only accept coins and require you to provide exact change. However, in SkyTrain stations, the tickets are sold at vending machines and these machines conveniently give change. They also recognize debit and credit cards. Books of 10 prepaid tickets are offered at a reduced price from many convenience stores. They also offer a “daypass” for $8.00, wherein the bearer is entitled to unlimited travel for a single day and is available from fare machines at SkyTrain stations.

The website of TransLink and customer information line both give tips on complete trip planning. If you would like to feel more of a tourist, a regional system map can generally be found in convenience stores, as are monthly passes which can cost well over $60-$80 dollars, depending on how many zones they cover within those days.

Passengers must remember to hand in their tickets immediately upon entering a TransLink bus. Purchasing tickets for the Skytrain operates on the honor system. However, there are random ticket checks every now and then but they are generally rare in occurrence. It is actually possible to ride the Skytrain without paying, especially during rush hour. But even in this type of leniency those who do so ride at their own risk because if a person gets caught, the fine can be up to $150 per person.

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