The integrated Translink public transport system is both highly efficient and good value. The computerised SkyTrain (light rail) has underground downtown stops as well as an elevated track. Its latest addition, the Canada Line, now connects downtown to Vancouver International Airport. The Translink system also includes buses; electric trolley buses; West Coast Express trains (weekdays only); and SeaBus passenger ferries that connect downtown to North Vancouver. The network reaches every part of the city, including the beaches and ski slopes. After midnight the regular bus system is replaced by a limited 'Owl' night bus service on main routes. Fares are based on a zone system and tickets are valid for buses, the SkyTrain and SeaBus with transfers valid for 90 minutes from the time they are validated. Taxis are easy to come by at taxi stands, hotels or by telephone, but can be difficult to hail outside of the downtown area. Vancouver's traffic and road network is fairly well-ordered, but hiring a car is not necessary in the city because the public transport is more than sufficient.
GMT -8 (GMT -7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs and a plug with a third round grounding pin are standard.
The currency used is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Banks and bureaux de change will change cash, as will some hotels. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread. US Dollars are widely accepted.
The international access code for Canada is +1. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code. The outgoing code is not necessary for calls to the US and the Caribbean. Internet cafes are widely available. Most international mobile phone companies have roaming agreements with Canadian operators, however it will be cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card if visiting the country for long periods.
The Canada Line connects the airport to downtown Vancouver in about 25 minutes. The service runs every 8-20 minutes and costs roughly C$10 to downtown. Scheduled buses are available to downtown Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver Island and Washington State. Courtesy shuttles transport passengers to the Long-Term Parking Lot, South Terminal, local hotels and other destinations near the airport. Public bus services to Vancouver, Richmond and further afield are available at the Airport Station Bus Terminal.
Car hire companies Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty are represented next to the terminal building on the ground floor.
Metered taxis are available around the clock outside the terminals. Look for the green signs which indicate a taxi pick-up position. Taxis charge around C$27 for the 30 minute journey into downtown. Price and journey time is higher during rush hour. A tip of 10 to 15 per cent is expected.
A courtesy shuttle is available to the Airport South terminal.
The main terminal has ATMs, bureaux de change and a bank. There is a selection of bars, restaurants and fast food outlets scattered throughout the airport, as well as a variety of shops, including duty-free, baggage storage and a medical centre. Children's play areas are also available.
Vancouver International Airport offers a range of parking options in the parkade directly opposite the terminals. Hourly parking starts at C$8 per hour, but reduced daily and weekly rates are also available. The cheaper economy lot is within short walking distance from the terminal, while the long-term parking lot is conveniently connected to the terminals via a shuttle bus.
Wifi is available free of charge throughout the airport.