It is easy to get around in Vancouver, whether private or public transport facilities. In some cases it is easier to rely on transit when traveling into particularly busy or congested areas (such as the downtown), as parking can be difficult to secure during peak times such as rush hour.
Because Vancouver is laid out in a logical, orderly fashion, getting around by car is simple. Streets and roads are well-marked and signs easy to follow. The only downside is the price of gas, which tends to be four times as high in Vancouver as in many parts of the United States. However, if you’re relocating from Europe, gas prices here may actually be less expensive.
Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada, but, the overall size of the city is fairly compact and distances are short. Traffic and numerous traffic lights might make destinations seem distant, when in reality, nothing is very far in Vancouver. Commuting from other parts of the metro area via bridge or tunnel can take quite a while during rush hour.
The public transit system in the Lower Mainland is outstanding in its approach to customer service, frequency of service, and state-of-the-art fully-accessible transportation fleet. The transit system is managed by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, more commonly known as TransLink. Under the TransLink umbrella subsidiary companies operate the various branches of the transit system. British Columbia Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) operates SkyTrain, a light-rail rapid-transit system with 2 separate lines reaching as far away as Surrey and Coquitlam. InTransitBC operates Canada Line, Vancouver’s newest light-rail rapid-transit line, connecting the Lower Mainland with Richmond (Waterfront Station to Richmond-Brighouse Station).
Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) operates all buses in the Lower Mainland (with the exception of Blue Bus in West Vancouver) including the Community Shuttle buses servicing local areas of town (for example, the downtown and UBC) and Seabus, a commuter ferry running between the downtown and North Vancouver. West Coast Express (WCE) operates a commuter train running between downtown Vancouver and the outlying areas of metro Vancouver including Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, and Mission. WCE also operates TrainBus, an extension of the fleet providing service to WCE stations. HandyDART, a door-to-door shared ride service for the physically and cognitively impaired who require assistance using public transit, is managed by a contract operator.
Aquabus Ferries connect different parts of False Creek with Granville Island. The tiny ferries, nicknamed “floating bathtubs” by some, are a surprisingly convenient and fun way to navigate the waters of False Creek. Taxi service in Vancouver is fairly reliable and reasonably priced. There are several reputable companies; among them is Yellow Cab, a well-known North American taxi company.
Cycling is a popular way to get around in Vancouver. Vancouverites are avid cyclists in all kinds of weather, and public transit is generally cyclist-friendly, with dedicated space for bikes aboard the Skytrain, Canada Line, CMBC buses, Seabus, and WCE trains and buses. There are numerous bike routes throughout the city, and a new, 24-kilometer Central Valley Greenway running between False Creek (near Main Street) and New Westminster quay (on the Fraser River), making commuting across the city a safe and pleasant experience.
Many people walk to work and/or school in Vancouver, and sidewalks are generally ample and crosswalks abundant. Traffic lights are often pedestrian-controlled, meaning pedestrians can activate the light to change while waiting at a crosswalk (simply push the button the post near the crosswalk). This makes walking safer and more convenient.
Living in Vancouver is all about having choices. Whether you choose to walk, cycle, drive, or ride, the experience is sure to be a positive one.