A city and its transportation network share a relationship akin to the one between a human body and the several networks of blood vessels within it. A city, much like the human body, suffers if its transportation networks fall short of meeting its needs. In this light, Vancouver is blessed with one which does a lot more than meet its needs.
The SkyTrain Vancouver transit system fits perfectly with the character of Vancouver, serving both a functional and an aesthetic utility. Whether you’re visiting Cypress Mountain or Stanley Park, you might want to use the Skytrain.
Contrary to the name, it is not one of those fancy hovering trains that we are all too familiar with from those cyberpunk movies. Vancouver is by no means an advanced Wakandaesque city-state(or is it??) with flying hover trains. Yet, that does not beguile the fact that the Vancouver Skytrain is really quite awesome in its own right!
It is a state-of-the-art automated, elevated, light rapid transport system (Tony Stark would be proud!) that meanders throughout Vancouver and has networks connecting it with the surrounding municipalities. And while property crimes around Skytrain stations have been a worry for some years, there is no denying the fact that Skytrains are Vancouverites’ top transit option when moving around.
Why Will You Love the Skytrain Vancouver?
It is a citywide network connecting Vancouver with New Westminster, Burnaby, Surrey, and Richmond. The network as a whole is conveniently designed to be an ideal ride for a day’s sightseeing of the city; several of its stations are situated near the most sought-after tourist spots, such as:
- Queen Elizabeth Park (King Edward Station),
- Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (Stadium-Chinatown Station)
- The Science World ( Main Street-Science World Station).
Not to mention, it extends directly to and from the Vancouver International Station, ending at Waterfront Station. Moreover, with the DayPass for just $10.75, you can exhaust the whole of the 28 Km route that it covers, making it one of the best bargains for transportation options in Vancouver.
Now that we have broken the ice and established the fact that SkyTrain Vancouver is really quite awesome, let us explore some interesting facts and information about SkyTrain Vancouver!
1. The Compass Card
The Vancouver transit system, for lack of a better word, can be quite daunting at first for the uninitiated wanderer. Yet, once familiarised with the system, one cannot help but appreciate its elegance and convenience. The Compass card is your best bet as a means to traverse the transit lines in the most hassle-free manner. Not to mention, the Compass card as an option is actually, on average easier on the pocket than just going for cash and tickets. Basically, it is a reloadable fare card which works on the transit system as a whole, everywhere in Vancouver.
These cards can be loaded with a number of fare options, such as
- “monthly passes”,
- “day passes” and
- “stored value”.
If you’re in Vancouver as a tourist, you should definitely go for the “day pass”, as it allows you unrestricted travel within all the three zones into which the transit network is divided for an entire day. On the other hand, a “month pass” is the more suitable option if you’re planning on staying in Vancouver for a while.
You can choose to buy a one, two or three-zone month pass that will allow you to ride the SkyTrain Vancouver for the duration of a calendar month. Lastly, you have the option of “stored value”, which is the one you should go for if you don’t plan to use transit very often. When paying by a single fair, the ticket lasts for a duration of 90 minutes and can be used multiple times within those 90 minutes.
Moreover, a child under five years of age can ride the SkyTrain Vancouver or any of the transit systems free of cost. A concession pass is your option, if you’re between the ages of five and eighteen years, to get cheaper travel transit fares.
2. The Zone Divisions and the Lines
The Vancouver transit system is divided into three zones, as shown in the SkyTrain Vancouver map—
Zone 1- The City of Vancouver
Zone 2- North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and Richmond
Zone 3– Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey, Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge.
There are three SkyTrain lines—
The Canada Line extends from YVR to Waterfront Station in Central Vancouver. One thing to be aware of when you’re riding the Canada line is that the train will have alternating destinations. At times, it may very well look like you’re heading in the same direction, but one train will be going to Richmond Brighouse, the other one going to YVR. The Expo Line starts at Waterfront Station and has alternating destinations of King George in Surrey and Production Way in Burnaby, similar to the Canada line. The Millennium Line starts connecting VCC-Clark station to Lafarge Lake-Douglas in Coquitlam.
The three zones and their respective start-to-end stations
SkyBridge….because under every futuristically named train is a similarly named bridge! The SkyBridge is the world’s longest cable-supported double-tracked transit-only bridge, which is a part of the SkyTrain network connecting New Westminster with Surrey and spanning the breadth of the Fraser River. Hyundai Engineering & Construction partnered with a Chilliwack-based construction company to manufacture the bridge.