There are many modes of transportation that can get you around Vancouver. You can drive, walk, sail, cycle, or take any of Vancouver’s excellent public transit options. Getting around downtown Vancouver can be incredibly fast and easy even if you don’t have a car at your disposal. Getting out into the surrounding cities of Greater Vancouver, such as Richmond, Langley, Burnaby, and Coquitlam, takes no time at all with the help of the rapid transit Skytrain system. Wherever you’re going, Vancouver has plenty of options to get you there quickly, safely, and cost effectively.
Rent a Car or Car Share
If you’re travelling to Vancouver without your own car but need a set of wheels when you get here, there are a few ways to get your hands on a vehicle. You can rent a car from any number of car rental services, such as Enterprise, Avis, or Budget. If you don’t need a car for your entire trip and just want some wheels for a couple of hours at a time, try one of Vancouver’s many car sharing services like Car2Go, Evo, or Zipcar.
Taxis are a great solution if you need a quick ride somewhere and don’t want to worry about parking in the crowded city streets of Vancouver. Whether you’re coming from the airport, trying to get to the other side of the city, or running late for an event and need to get there as quickly as possible, the taxis in Vancouver are always ready to grab a fare. The best cab companies to get you around downtown and the surrounding areas are Vancouver Taxi, Black Top & Checker Cabs, MacLure’s Cabs, and Yellow Cab.
While you’re visiting Vancouver you might be interested in checking out the gorgeous outlying areas along the coast and over into Vancouver Island. BC Ferries provides trips between Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen over to Nanaimo and Swartz Bay. From Swartz Bay, it’s a quick drive or bus ride into Victoria, BC’s capital city. There are also many routes that will take you all over the Gulf Islands and up along the central coast. Call toll free at 888-223-3779 for more information about sailing times, fares, and reservations.
The Translink bus system is a fantastic travel method when you’re touring around Vancouver. The bus lines reach nearly every nook and cranny of Greater Vancouver, allowing you to sit back, relax, and not worry about where to park in this busy city. You can plan a trip from the Translink website, look up the next bus times for any stop, or see routes for the NightBus. For travellers who need a little extra assistance, the HandyDART service provides door to door service for passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities.
The Skytrain is one of the best and fastest ways to get around Vancouver. Operating on three different lines, the Expo Line, Millenium Line, and Canada Line will take you from the heart of Vancouver out into Surrey, Coquitlam, and Richmond, as well as every stop in between. The Canada Line will also take you directly to the airport, allowing you to unload just steps away from the main terminal. You can check for first and last train times, route information, and schedules on the Translink website.
Travel by Train
There are four different trains servicing Vancouver that will take you out of the city and into the further reaches of British Columbia, even into Alberta and the United States. The Rocky Mountaineer will take you to Seattle, Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper, or Calgary through BC’s scenic coastal and mountain landscapes.
If you’re looking to go even further, Via Rail can take you all the way from Vancouver, British Columbia to Halifax, Nova Scotia, or anywhere in between. You can relax in comfort as you take in the gorgeous views of Canada’s nature, culture, and history.
The Translink West Coast Express commuter rail service operates Monday to Friday at peak times in the morning and evening. It will take you from downtown Vancouver all the way out to Mission City, with stops along the way at Moody Centre, Coquitlam Central, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Meadows, and Port Haney.
Aquabus and SeaBus
The Aquabus is a colourful little boat that makes a total of 8 stops along False Creek, from Hornby Street to The Village. They run every 15 minutes or so and they’re the perfect way to get from one spot to the next while also enjoying the sights of the Vancouver waterfront.
The Translink SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry that connects Waterfront Station to the Lonsdale Quay. It departs every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, and operates on most holidays. It’s definitely the quickest and most scenic way to get from downtown Vancouver into North Vancouver.
Rent a Bicycle
Vancouver is proud to strongly support the use of bicycles as an ecologically friendly way to travel around the city. There are miles of bike lanes, nature-rich greenways, and bike-friendly public transit options to help you go from one place to the next with your bike. Check out Vancouver’s cycling map to plan the safest, easiest, and most scenic route for your travels. If you aren’t travelling with your own bike you can rent one from one of the rental shops in Vancouver. You can head over to Cycle Vancouver, Van City Bikes, or Spokes to choose a set of wheels to cruise around on.
Mopeds and Scooters
If you’re looking for something with a little more power than a bicycle, rent a moped or scooter to buzz around the city with. Driving around on one of these little motorized bikes will get you where you need to go quite quickly and you’ll have a ton of fun along the way. You can check out Metro Scooter Rentals, Cycle BC, or Access Rent a Car to see their hourly, daily, and weekly rates.
Walk Through the City
Spending a lot of time in the downtown Vancouver area means it’s going to be pretty easy to walk from one point to the next. Vancouver is so jam-packed with shops, restaurants, lounges, and entertainment that unless you have a specific destination in mind, it’s incredibly easy to just set out on foot and come across all kinds of interesting sights. Using the various public transit options to take you a little further is the perfect way to supplement your walking tours.
Vancouver is a huge, bustling city. There’s always a ton of stuff going on and people are endlessly rushing from one place to the next. If you don’t choose to rent a car, the many different transportation options will give you the ability to avoid traffic, search for parking, or try hopelessly to navigate the many one way streets and crowded intersections of this bustling metropolis. Every different method can show you a new view of this beautiful city so try a few different ways to get around and experience a bit of everything.