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Biking to the ferry: A transportation planner’s journey

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (BCIT)

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (Courtesy of BCIT)

Island season is most definitely here! Before the summer slips away *tear* we have some adventure ideas for all of you cycling enthusiasts and budding bikers!

Read on to learn some routes that you can take to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal that have been collected and expertly researched by avid cyclist and TransLink Assistant Transportation Planner, Denis Agar.

One of the most incredible things about living in Metro Vancouver is that we have beautiful wilderness right on our doorstep. There are a number of exciting destinations to explore on the transit network, and even more are just a short BC Ferries ride away.

Did you know that a bike can take you from one tip of Salt Spring Island to the other in just 2.5 hours?

Even beginner cyclists can enjoy low-stress cycle touring on the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island, with plenty of campgrounds and B&Bs available to spend the night.

While BC Ferries charges up to $115 round trip to bring your car to the islands, they charge just $4.00 round trip to bring your bike aboard.

The only part that can be a little challenging is getting to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal with your bike.

All of TransLink’s buses are equipped with bike racks which can make it easier and faster to get to the ferry terminal, but these buses only carry two bikes at a time, which can be a challenge at peak times.  But don’t worry, because you have alternatives!

So, if you’re trying to get to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal with your bike, here are some options worth considering.

*All hypothetical trips start at Waterfront Station to make comparison simple*

Richard Eriksson

Courtesy of Richard Eriksson

Bus route 620 direct to Ferry Terminal
Route 620 is your direct route from Bridgeport Canada Line station to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. It’s timed to connect with the ferry to Swartz Bay (Victoria) and at busy times, up to three buses can be scheduled to meet the same ferry departure! At peak times, it can be difficult to predict whether there will be room for your bike on the bus, because of the high levels of demand. The following two alternatives are more reliable, and they also leave from the same station!

Bus route 601/602/603/604 to 56 Street and Highway 17
Your next best option is to take one of the four bus routes that go from Bridgeport Station to the village of Tsawwassen. You’ll want to get off the bus at the corner of 56 Street and Highway 17, and bike west on Highway 17’s bike lanes for roughly 20 minutes to get to the ferry terminal.

Bus route 351 to Matthews Exchange
Although this option takes longer, two key factors make it a stress-free choice:

  • The extremely frequent route 351 is unlikely to leave you behind, and if it does, it’s only 15 minutes to wait until the next bus.
  • The 60 minute ride from Matthews Exchange to the ferry terminal is breathtakingly beautiful, along the Boundary Bay Dyke.
Heather Harvey

Courtesy of Heather Harvey

Massey Tunnel shuttle
This option involves a free shuttle that takes you from one side of the Massey Tunnel to the other. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure operates this service, which can carry up to seven people and bikes at a time, making it ideal for cycling with big groups. If there are more than seven people waiting, the shuttle will come back ASAP to pick them up.

If you want to take this shuttle but don’t want to bike all the way from your home to the shuttle stop, you can take the Canada Line to Richmond–Brighouse Station and ride to the shuttle pickup point from there.

Bike across the Alex Fraser Bridge

Courtesy of Pete

Courtesy of Pete

If you want to bike all the way from your home to the ferry terminal, your closest bike-friendly crossing is the Alex Fraser Bridge between New Westminster and Delta. That’s more than a three hour trip, but there are a number of ways you can shorten it:

  • Take the SkyTrain from Vancouver to 22nd Street Station and bike from there.
  • At 22nd Street Station, you can also catch the 340, 388, or 104 buses that will take you right to the foot of the bridge at the corner of Cliveden Avenue and Hwy 91 off ramp.
  • On the other side of the bridge, you can catch the 640 bus at the corner of Nordel Way and Nordel Court, which will take you to Ladner.
  • At Ladner Exchange, you can catch one of the buses from options one or two that will help you on your way.

For more details on each option, click here.

If you encounter any issues with this information, or if anything has changed, let us know in the comments!

Author: Denis Agar


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