TransLink, T604-953 3333, www.trans link.bc.ca, operates a reasonable network of city buses, a fast and generally efficient elevated rail system called the SkyTrain and a passenger ferry between Waterfront SkyTrain Station and North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay called the SeaBus. Tickets bought on these are valid for any number of journeys in any direction on all 3 within a 90-min period. The system is divided into 3 fare zones, with Zone 1 covering almost everything of interest.
Fares are $2.50 for 1 zone, $3.75 for 2 and $5 for 3. Concession fares are $1.75, $2.50 and $3.50. Discount fares available for all zones after 1830 and at weekends and holidays. A day pass is $9, child $7. A book of 10 tickets is $19, child $16. Transit maps are posted on most bus shelters or are available at the Visitor Centre ($2), who also offer a free guide to reaching major attractions.
One-way fares from Vancouver in the summer are: $125 to Kelowna with West- Jet; $170 to Castlegar (for Nelson) with Air Canada; $179 to Calgary with Air Canada; $195 to Whitehorse with Air North; $100 to Victoria with Air Canada, West Coast Air and Pacific Coastal; $80 to Powell River (Sunshine Coast) with Pacific Coastal.
Air Canada, 1030 W Georgia, T1888-247 2262; American, T1800- 433 7300; British Airways, T1800-247 9297; Continental, T1800-2310856; KLM, T1800- 225 2525; Lufthansa, T1800-563 5954; Qantas, T1800-227 4500; WestJet, T1800- 538 5696.
In Canada, it is sometimes cheaper to book flights with a travel agent. Flight Centre, with many branches including 903 Denman St, T1866-246 6703, www.flight centre.ca, is cheap and useful, as is Travel Cuts, 1114 Burnaby St, HI Hostel, T604- 6592845.
Fly to Victoria‘s Inner Harbour from Downtown (by Canada Place) or from the airport. The cost is about $130, saving at least an hour of bus time. West Coast Air, T604-606 6800, www.westcoast air.com and Harbour Air, T604-274 1277, http://www.harbour-air.com.
Vancouver’s relatively narrow streets make bus travel slow and the system is not geared towards visitors, there are very few bus stops or vehicles carring information. Think about buying a transit map ($2) at the Visitor Centre, check online at www.bc transit.bc.ca, or ask the usually friendly and helpful drivers. The exact fare is dropped into a machine, which doesn’t give change. If you have bought a ticket in the last 90 mins (time of expiry is on the ticket), feed it into the machine, which will give it back. Most routes run until 2400/0100.
There is also a transit service for the disabled called HandyDART. It mainly runs Mon-Fri 0630-1900, but for more infor- mation and booking call T604-430 2692. Additional information on all services, including maps and timetables for individual routes is available at the Visitor Centre, public libraries and SkyTrain ticket booths.
Buses and trains all leave from the VIA Rail Pacific Central Station, 1150 Station St, in a grim but handy part of town near the Main St/Terminal Av intersection and the Science World SkyTrain Station.
Greyhound, T604-482 8747, www.grey hound.ca, has connections to most Canadian towns and to Seattle. The following prices are one-way for adult/child and times are approx. Lower fares are sometimes available with 1 day advance purchase. There are 4 daily buses to Banff (13½ hrs, $119/$61); 4 to Calgary (15-18 hrs, $137/$70); 2 to Jasper (11 hrs, $119/$61); 5 to Kamloops (5 hrs, $58/$30); 6 to Kelowna (7 hrs, $65/ $34); 3 to Prince George (12½ hrs, $116/ $59); 3 to Toronto (70 hrs, $374/$188); 8 to Whistler (2½ hrs, $19/$9); and 8 to Nanaimo (3 hrs, $32/$25 including the ferry so no need to catch a city bus to Horseshoe Bay). Look out for special deals such as the ‘Go Anywhere’ fares, as little as $119 one-way or $189 return to anywhere in Canada if booked 14 days in advance.
Pacific Coach Lines, T604-662 8074, http://www.pacificcoach.com, runs to Victoria from the bus station or airport, $38/$20, including ferry (almost hourly); to Whistler, $61.50 one-way from the airport.
There are a few other choices to Whistler: The Snowbus, T604-685 7669, www.snow bus.ca, costs $43 return, $29 with ISIC. Perimeter Whistler Express, T604-266 5386, picks up at the airport and major hotels, $55 one-way. Malaspina Coach Line, T1877-227 8287, 2 buses daily to Powell River on the Sunshine Coast (6 hrs, $56).
Moose Travel Network, T604-7779905, http://www.moosenetwork.com, is the simplest way to get around BC and the Rockies. At least 16 different routes, mostly starting and ending in Vancouver, cover most itineraries. You can hop on and off and there are few time limits. Travel is in 11-24 seat mini- coaches, with lots of activities on the way.
Greyhound, T1800-231 2222, runs 5 daily buses between Seattle and Vancouver (4 hrs, $25/15 one-way). The Quickshuttle, T1800-665 2122, www.quick coach.com, also connects Vancouver with Downtown Seattle, 5 services daily from the Holiday Inn at 1110 Howe St, stopping at the airport (4 hrs, $36/$23 one-way).
All the major car hire agencies have offices Downtown and at the airport. Avis, T604- 606 2869; Budget, T604-668 7000; Hertz, T604- 606 4711; and Thrifty, T604-606 1666, offer a one-way service. Rent-a-wreck, T604- 688 0001, rents minivans which you can sleep in.
One-way RV rentals, often just to Calgary: Candan, T604-530 3645, www.ca ndan.com; Cruise Canada, T604-946 5775, www.cruise canada.com; and Go West, T604-528 3900, www.go-west. com.
SeaBus ferries leave every 15 mins and take 12 mins to make the journey across Burrard Inlet from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Market. They are wheelchair accessible and can carry bikes. On False Creek, the Aquabus T604-689 5858, http://www.theaquabus.com, runs from the south end of Hornby St to Science World, stopping at the Arts Club on Granville Island, the end of Davie St in Yaletown and behind Monk McQueens at Stamp’s Landing, $2.50-$5 one-way. False Creek Ferries, http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca, run from the Maritime Museum in Vanier Park to Science World, stopping at the Aquatic Centre on Beach Av, Granville Island Public Market, Stamp’s Landing and BC Place. From $2.50-$5 one-way.
BC Ferries www.bc ferries.ca, run from Tsawwassen, about 30 km south of Vancouver, to Victoria (0700-2100, 95 mins), the southern Gulf Islands and Nanaimo (0630-2100, 95 mins). To get downtown from here take bus No 404 and transfer to No 98 at Airport Junction ($5). Horseshoe Bay, some 15 km northwest of the city on Hwy 99, is a far nicer terminal and much more convenient for Nanaimo, as well as Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast. To get downtown take bus No 250 or No 257 ($3.75).
The SkyTrain is a much better and faster service than the bus, but with only a few really useful stops: Waterfront in the old Canadian Pacific Station next to Canada Pl; Burrard at Burrard/Dunsmuir; Granville, beneath the Bay on Granville St; Science World-Main St; and Broadway at the Broad- way/Commercial junction. The SkyTrain route to the airport is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2009.
Like buses, trains leave from the VIA Rail Pacific Central Station, 1150 Station St. VIA Rail‘s The Canadian, T1888-842 7245, http://www.viarail.ca, connects Vancouver and Toronto via Kamloops (8½ hrs, from $114) and Jasper (17½ hrs, from $238). Trains leaves Vancouver Fri, Sun and Tue. Amtrak, T1800-872 7245, www.am trak.com, 5 daily trains to Seattle (4 hrs, $28).
Taxis are well regulated and compare favourably with public transport prices. After midnight they are about the only way to get around. The main companies are Black Top/Checker Cabs, T604-731 1111, and Yellow Cab Co, T604-681 1111.