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car rental or public transport

Los Angeles
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car rental or public transport

Hi,

I'm going to be in Vancouver for 3 days in early summer. I've tried to read the top questions, but the answers there are giving me more questions.

So my original plan was to take the train out of YVR, stay downtown, and take public transport around the area, including possibly to Victoria/Bushart Gardens. But it appears this may not be cost/time effective because:

1) It is unclear whether I can buy day (train) passes for the day I arrive.

2) Public transport is very time inefficient to Victoria and the bus/tour prices are more than my plane ticket to Vancouver from LA.

So does it make sense to rent a car at YVR and drop off near the cruise terminal 3 days later? Can I save lots of time over public transport by driving to the ferry and other nearby areas (like Lynn Canyon)?

What say you experts?

TIA

lkmckin

SE Ontario
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1. Re: car rental or public transport

Parking in Vancouver is very expensive ... if you are staying in a hotel count on paying average $20 - $25 a day.

Niagara Falls...
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2. Re: car rental or public transport

You can get a day pass at any Skytrain station for $9.25; this includes all day travel on the Skytrain as well as all bus routes and the Seabus. I used it when I visited Vancouver last summer. Also Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge have free shuttles from Canada Place.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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3. Re: car rental or public transport

a) Yes, you can buy an all-day transit pass. It allows you on the Canada Line into Vancouver, as well as on the Skytrain and on the bus (and even the Seabus that connects to North Vancouver). It's only good until midnight of the day that you purchase it.

b) Victoria's further than first-time visitors realize. It takes 4 hours to get there from Vancouver, one way. With only 3 days in Vancouver, I don't usually recommend the day trip to Victoria. Instead, you can make better use of your time in Vancouver - visit VanDusen Botanical Garden and Queen Elizabeth Park instead if gardens are your thing. Sure, they're not as famous as Butchart, but I'd argue equally as beautiful when you combine them - and they're only a 10 minute drive south of downtown Vancouver. I find most visitors only want to go to Butchart because they've been told they have to see it, but often they don't realize all the other attractions in Vancouver.

If you do want to visit Victoria, spend the money and fly with either Helijet or Harbour Air. The flights take 35 minutes one way and are scenic.

Driving between downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver's Lynn Canyon Park will be faster than taking public transit, but it'll cost you money to park anywhere in Vancouver. You can always rent a car for the day if you don't want to spent an hour on public transit to Lynn Canyon.

Edited: 11 April 2013, 01:22
Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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4. Re: car rental or public transport

No you will not save time or money with rental car. You can get to Victoria for under $20 if you use public transit and walk on the ferry.. it just takes a bit more time. With 3 days I'd skip Victoria. There's tons to do see in Vancouver in that limited time. If you're after gardens there are quite a few in Vancouver that are stunning.. Queen Elizabeth Park ( free) Van Dusen gardens, UBC Botanical Gardens, Nitobe Memorial Japanese Gardens, Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, Stanley Park Rose Gardens.

The problem with getting to Victoria is the distance. The ferry terminal ia about 45 minutes south of downtown then there's a 1.5 hour ferry ride. Then 1/2 hour into Victoria ..add some wait time for getting to the ferry etc and you've used up about 3.5 hours just to get there. It's not as if it was just a short drive away...

The ferry ride is scenic and one way to do the day trip is to fly overin the morning with Harbor air , downtown to downtown then take the Pacific Coach bus back...

Vancouver is compact and walkable. Taking the seabus and the bus to Lynn Canyon will be as efficient a use of time as driving.. the traffic getting out of downtown can be quite restricted.

You can buy a day pass at the domestic terminal on your arrival at YVR. When you clear customs you'll walk out of the terminal..turn right and it's a short walk over to domestic..go to the 7-11 store inside domestic terminal to buy a day pass.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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for British Columbia
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5. Re: car rental or public transport

Hotel parking is now closer to $40/day.

Niagara Falls...
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6. Re: car rental or public transport

I have a correction to my last post; the day pass is $9.75 (still a good deal). Also, if you do take public transit to Lynn Canyon, visit the tourist information centre at the market in the North Vancouver Seabus terminal; they have maps of Lynn Canyon as well as other great hiking areas.

wgr
Vancouver, BC
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7. Re: car rental or public transport

The information about going to Victoria if you only have three days is mostly correct. Keep in mind that if yoiu rent a car, besides the car rental you will pay $15.50 pp on the ferry plus $51.25 for your vehicle. Each way. Getting from Vancouver to Victoria for under $20 on public transit is a bit of a stretch (maybe just over $20) but is a huge time waster.

Butchart Gardens are pretty but if that is your main motivation for going, the Van Dusen Gardens and Queen Elizabeth Park will make better use of your time. That said, the ferry ride to Victoria (Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay) is some fo the most spectacular scenery you will see anywhere.

Car versus public transport. In addition to vehicle rental and parking (if you can find parking for $25 per day, grab it; it will usually be more), you will pay for gas at (today) about $1.35 per liter ($5.10 per US gallon) and actually finding parking at attractions can be a hassle. Vancouver is not LA!

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: car rental or public transport

You can buy a day pass at the airport, but not on the Canada Line platform. You will have to walk 5-8 minutes over to the Domestic Terminal to the 7-Eleven or Pharmasave to do that, then to the platform, no backtracking. A day pass is good until last service which can be as late as 2 am.

Try this on for size. Arrive YVR and head for Victoria right away on Pacific Coach Lines. You would pay $44 for the coach and $15.50 for the ferry. Coming back to downtown Van, you pay $35 for the coach and $15.50 for the ferry. When you come out of Canadian Customs with your luggage you will be in the large meet and greet area. Just in front of the sliding glass exit doors, there is an escalator heading up to the right. At the foot of this escalator you will find the PCL kiosk.

This would get you to Victoria on the same day, about 3.5 hours from the airport, 4 hours from downtown to downtown. Enjoy the Inner Harbour Causeway with all the buskers and entertainers, do your tourist thing. The next morning continue seeing and doing, all good. At 1 pm take the PCL coach with the 2 hour stop at Butchart Gardens [pronounced Butch - art] then on to the 5 pm ferry and back to Vancouver by 7h30 pm.

YVR - Victoria service: pacificcoach.com/Bus-Coach-Travel/YVR-Victor…

Butchart Gardens en route to Vancouver: pacificcoach.com/Sightseeing-Tours/Victoria/…

PCL will run every 2 hours. But it all depends on when your plane arrives. Last coach right to downtown Victoria departs YVR at 5h40 pm, arriving downtown VI at 9h20 pm.

Now you've got 2 more days in Vancouver. Get your day pass from a store vendor, which are everywhere and get around town on Shanks' pony and transit. So much more convenient, you never have to look for a parking spot and transit will take you to the door of any major attraction you could possibly want to see. Of the attractions that most visitors see, the farthest is about 40-45 min by easy public transit.

Los Angeles
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9. Re: car rental or public transport

Wow, thanks MMm for the detailed plan. Other than lugging baggage around Victoria to Vancouver, this sounds ideal.

Thanks also to all those who dissuaded me from renting (and parking!!) a car. Public transport to Lynn Canyon sounds easy.

I appreciate the viewpoint of those who advised against the Victoria trip, but the ferry trip itself looks like interesting travel.

Thanks again everyone!!

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: car rental or public transport

In Victoria, the hotel you stay the night will be pleased to hold your luggage until you're ready to catch the PCL Coach. Easy. Choose a hotel in the Douglas St and Belleville St. area. The BW Inner Harbour, for example is about 700 metres and 10 min walk from the Bus Depot. You can find the James Bay area hotels on Google Maps.

Luggage is locked in the hold under the coach so you don't have to touch it between YVR- Vic and Vic - Van.