TransLink, Metro Vancouver's public transport system, includes bus service, a rapid transit system called SkyTrain, and a 400-passenger commuter ferry (SeaBus) that connects Downtown to the North Shore.
In 2015 TransLink is expected to introduce a new electronic Compass Card system for single fare tickets or stored-value cards, to be purchased at station vending machines before boarding. You "tap in" your ticket or card to the electronic reader when you board the bus, SkyTrain, or SeaBus; you "tap out" when you exit, which subtracts the fare from your card. Until then you can still buy single-fare tickets; day passes (good across all zones) and discounted FareSaver tickets (sold in books of 10, at outlets such as 7-Eleven, Safeway, and London Drugs) can also be purchased. Tickets for bus travel require exact change at time of embarkation, while Sky-Train and SeaBus tickets are purchased from machines (correct change isn't necessary). Tickets, which are valid for 90 minutes and allow travel in any direction on the buses, SkyTrain, or SeaBus, must be carried with you as proof of payment. Both the ticket fares and the new Compass Card fares are based on zones: one zone (C$2.75), two zones (C$4), or three zones (C$5.50). Travel within the Vancouver city limits is a one-zone trip; traveling between Vancouver and the North Shore or from Vancouver to Richmond is two zones. The Compass Card will also have a day pass available if you're planning to use the system frequently in one day (C$9.75, good all day across all zones).
You'll be able to board a bus without a Compass Card or electronic ticket; just pay your fare as you enter (exact change required). However a Compass Card gives you free transfers between the bus and either the SkyTrain or the SeaBus; if you pay cash, your ticket is good on the bus only.
SkyTrain is convenient for transit between Downtown, BC Place Stadium, Pacific Central Station, Science World, and Vancouver International Airport. SeaBus is the fastest way to travel between Downtown and the North Shore (there are bus connections to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain).
TransLink. 604/953–3333; www.translink.ca.