How to Get Around in Vancouver

If you are about to enter Vancouver, whether you are just starting to study or travel, we are here to help you get around in Vancouver like a local! Vancouver’s public transportation system is very simple and easy to access as long as you have a google map. If you know how to drive or ride a bike, more options for rent are also available. In this blog, we will walk you through the most common way to travel in Vancouver whether you are planning for a long-term or short-term stay. 

1. Bus in Vancouver

Vancouver bus

Vancouver has one of the most extensive transportation systems in Canada, and TransLink offers a wide range of bus routes throughout the Greater Vancouver area. There are two options to check bus schedules: Download the TransLink app or Type in your destination on Google Map. Be sure to purchase a BC compass card at any Compass Vending Machines at SkyTrain, SeaBus, or West Coast Express stations.

Payment Options: Visa/Master Credit Card; Cash; Compass Card 

Fares and Operating time can be found on: TransLink

2. Skytrain in Vancouver

Vancouver sky train

Skytrain is one of the fastest transportations in Metro Vancouver, it takes only 18 minutes from Burnaby to Downtown Vancouver. There are currently 3 lines of Skytrain: Canada Line, Expo Line, and Millenium Line throughout the Greater Vancouver Area. Just like buses, purchase a compass card is the best option for taking a Skytrain, there are compass vending machines in every Skytrain station to choose from one-way/round trip, Day/Month pass to rechargeable Compass Card.  

Payment Options: Visa/Master Credit Card; Compass Card (Cash or Card)

Fares and Operating Time: Skytrain

3. Drive in Vancouver

-Rent a car

Vancouver evo

If you enjoy driving, Vancouver is one of the best cities to drive in Canada. With beautiful weather and little traffic time, Car rental is your choice if you are visiting Vancouver for the short term. There are many car rentals companies that can be found on Google for daily rentals or monthly rentals.   

However, car-sharing services are much more convenient if you are just considering going out for a few hours. Evo car sharing is the most popular car-sharing service in Greater Vancouver Area, it charges by the minute or hour and every car is equipped with the bike and ski racks, perfect for traveling. The best part is you can return cars at the nearest Evo locations. Visit: Evo  For more information on BC Driver’s License: How to get a BC Driver’s License

-Leasing/Financing/Buying a Car 

If you are a student or working in Vancouver who can drive and public transportations don’t work for you, leasing or buying a car might be the choice for you. For international students, leasing a car and pay a monthly rate (Insurance included) might be the most efficient way. The leasing rate varies depends on brand and level of use.   

 If you are considering staying in Vancouver for a long time, buying or financing a car could be more cost-efficient. However, financing a car requires the person to have a good credit score in order to pay up a monthly loan, ICBC may not approve financing if you just arrived in Canada. ICBC issues all the car insurance plans in BC. Information on prices: Autotrader

4. Bike in Vancouver

Vancouver rental bicycle

Morning bike riding along English Bay and Stanley Park might be the most refreshing way to start your day. Luckily, Vancouver has several bike-sharing services that allow you to rent a bike near your home and return near your destination. Mobi Bike by Shaw is the most popular bike-sharing service that offers Day Pass to Yearly Pass.  Visit: Mobi Bikes 

5. Ferry/Sea bus in Vancouver

Vancouver sea bus

Taking a vacation away from the city? You can easily take a ferry to visit beautiful islands in BC. BC Ferries provides several links from mainland British Columbia to various islands (Vehicle allowed), and views on ferries are incredible! For ferry schedules and fare: BC Ferries 

6. Taxi/Uber/Lyft/Kabu in Vancouver

Last but not least, taking a taxi or Uber is certainly the most convenient but expensive way to travel. In Greater Vancouver Area, different cities have different taxis, such as Yellow Cab in downtown area, Richmond taxi in Richmond area and Bonny’s Taxi in Burnaby, etc. If you need a taxi, you can either call the taxi number or download each taxi companies’ app.  

Taking an Uber/Lyft/Kabu might be easier because you can pay immediately on your phone but sometimes fees are higher if there’s no car around you or around peak time of the day.


Planning to come to Canada? Check out CCC’s ESL and EAP programs! And make sure you check our Packing Checklist before you come!