getting around Vancouver

Vancouver International Airport – YVR is approximately 30 minutes from UBC and hotels in Vancouver by taxi and car, and about 1 hour by public transport. Some useful links from the YVR website:

Information follows below on getting from the airport to UBC and to your hotel, which should be useful both for your arrival in Vancouver and (following the indications in reverse) for your departure (be that straight from the Workshop, or from your hotel). The rest of the information here below is about using public transportation in Vancouver, which should be useful for journeys from your hotel to Green College, from Green College or your hotel to Banana Leaf (Saturday evening banquet), from there back to your hotel, and any other trips you might wish to make around Vancouver…


Taxi: current rates are around $32.00 – $35.00.

Public transport: TransLink operates buses, trains, and ferries in Vancouver. More on them follows, further below…

  • obtain a ticket
  • take the SkyTrain Canada Line (direction: WATERFRONT) to BROADWAY-CITY HALL station
  • exit the station: you’ll be facing north (with a lovely view of downtown Vancouver ahead of you), at the south-east intersection of Broadway (running east-west) and Cambie St. (running north-south).
  • cross the road, and cross again, so as to reach the opposite (north-west) corner. There is a bank on the corner, Lululemon, and London Drugs
  • in front of London Drugs is a bus-stop for the #99 bus, running west to UBC
  • take the next #99: it will say EXPRESS UBC on the front
  • stay on the bus all the way to its terminus, UBC Bus Loop.

From the UBC Bus Loop to Green College: see Workshop location


See also: Google Maps for directions to your specific hotel

(1) The cheaper simple route = public transportation + taxi
obtain a ticket
❀ take the SkyTrain Canada Line from the airport to Waterfront (= the terminus)
❀ then take a taxi from Waterfront to your hotel; this should cost you under $10

(2) The more expensive, but most direct and rapid route = taxi
❀ take a taxi from the airport: the rank is just outside the terminal building; rates are around $32.00 – $36.00 (depending on hotel location)

(3) The cheapest route, but will take around 45-60 minutes = public transportation
TransLink operates buses, trains, and ferries in Vancouver
obtain a ticket
❀ most of the hotels that we’ve suggested (Vancouver Accommodation) are easily reached by taking the SkyTrain Canada Line from the aiport, and then a bus (or a taxi). The nearest Canada Line stations to these hotels are Broadway-City Hall and Vancouver City Centre.
❀ See also: Google Maps and the TransLink Trip Planner

(3) Car sharing: car2goModo Co-op, ZipCar

(4) Car rentals: a number of the usual ones are available, and the airport provides a useful page too

(5) The airport downtown shuttles may be an option, depending on the location of your hotel



Vancouver is divided into three transit zones. UBC is in Zone 1. Fares ($2.50 to $5.00) depend on when you travel and the number of zones you travel through. For full maps of routes, see here. A rough overview that covers UBC, most hotels, and the Saturday evening banquet location (Banana Leaf, Kitsilano) c/o this screenshot:

Exact coin fare or pre-paid tickets are needed when using transit.


Single tickets: can be bought on buses and at SkyTrain ticket machines.

  • buses require the exact fare
  • SkyTrain ticket machines accept coins (except pennies) and bills up to $20, and (at most stations) credit and debit cards

1 zone = $2.50

  • 90 minutes’ travel (hopping on and off, etc.) in zone 1 during peak hours = weekdays before 6.30 p.m.
  • all zones in off-peak hours = weekdays after 6.30 p.m., all day Saturday and Sunday
  • ex. travel between UBC and downtown Vancouver
  • ex. travel from the airport to your hotel, if you’re arriving after 6.30 p.m. on Thursday or Friday
  • ex. travel from UBC or your hotel to the airport, if you’re leaving on Friday after 6.30 p.m., or on Saturday or Sunday

2 zones = $3.75

  • ex. travel between the airport and UBC or downtown Vancouver, if you’re arriving on Thursday or Friday before 6.30 p.m.

Books of 10 1-zone FareSaver tickets = $21.00

  • saving you money if, say, you split a book between two people…
  • can be bought at the airport: the Pharmasave in the Domestic Terminal Building, level 1
  • near the airport: the nearest 7-11 (ask at the airport for directions)
  • UBC: at the Student Union Building, at the Shoppers Drug Mart nearby, and at the convenience store and drugstore in the University Village
  • other locations: ask at your hotel, or consult the TransLink Where To Buy page
  • same rules as for single tickets: 1 zone = 1 zone on weekdays before 6.30 p.m., all zones at all other times
  • if traveling across 2 or more zones on a weekday before 6.30 p.m., you can buy an AddFare ticket ($1.25 for adding zone 2 to a zone 1 ticket)