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Olympic travel tips: All about transit fares

Olympic travel tips: All about transit fares

For those who might be on our system for the first time during the Olympics, here’s a short series of tips to help you get on your way. (If you do know this stuff already, please pass it along to those who might find this useful!)

So far in the Olympic tips series: info on tickets, bike info, Park and Rides, a guide to transit staff, where to find real-time transit info online, and transit etiquette. Let me know if I should add anymore!

General info on transit fares for the Olympics

Some tickets can be bought at machines in SkyTrain and SeaBus stations.
Some tickets can be bought at machines in SkyTrain and SeaBus stations.

You can buy a variety of fare options for our transit system, all of which are valid on any bus, SeaBus, or SkyTrain.

However, special fares are required if you want to ride West Coast Express, our commuter train service running to Mission, B.C. You can buy those fares at ticket machines at West Coast Express stations.

During the Games, we’re encouraging you to buy fares in advance to help improve boarding times during this busy period. (Find a ticket retailer here!)

And remember: you must carry proof of payment (a valid ticket or pass) when aboard a transit vehicle or within any station area designated as a Fare Paid Zone.

Fare enforcement is conducted by Transit Police officers and Transit Security members. Anyone who fails to produce proof of payment will be asked to leave the vehicle and risks a fine of $173.

Fare zones

Fare zones in Metro Vancouver. Click for a larger image.
Fare zones in Metro Vancouver. Click for a larger image.

There are three fare zones in Metro Vancouver. The number of zone boundaries you cross during a trip will determine how much you pay for your fare. Use this Fare Zone Map to find out how many zones will be crossed for the trip. Each zone is a different colour.

You can transfer between bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus with the same ticket, as long as you remain within the zone(s) that you paid for, and remain within the time limit given by the ticket.

Again, travel on West Coast Express has its own pricing, since it extends far outside the zone boundaries.

Coming from the airport? Be aware of the YVR AddFare

I’ve put a long list of all of our fare types below, but you may want to know about this one first.

A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.
A ticket vending machine on the Canada Line.

As of January 18, 2010, a new YVR Add Fare of $5 is charged on all cash fares bought for travel from the airport to Richmond or Vancouver.

It is charged only if you buy your fare from the machines at the three stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island, and Templeton Stations).

Any prepaid fares are exempt from the YVR AddFare (FareSaver tickets, DayPasses, FareCards – they’re explained below). Prepaid tickets can be purchased at the airport at the 7-Eleven and Pharmasave in the Domestic Terminal Arrivals Level 1.

See this comprehensive article for more YVR AddFare questions and answers.

Note: special transit passes for the Olympics

Look out – if you’re going to a game or working with VANOC, you might already have a transit pass!

Event Tickets
On the day of an Olympic or Paralympic event, a spectator’s Games Ticket is valid as a pass on the entire TransLink network (including West Coast Express and HandyDART) until 4 a.m. the following morning.

VANOC Accredited Workforce
To help keep the Games running smoothly, all volunteers and workers for VANOC can use their accreditation pass as a valid transit fare from January 12 to March 24, 2010.

As well, we have a special commemorative six-week Games Transit Pass, valid from February 8 to March 21, 2010. Available for each zone type, these passes are sold at all FareDealer outlets, a.k.a. stores that are authorized to sell transit passes. An additional fare is required if you will be riding West Coast Express. More info on this fare is in the chart below.

Types of fares and passes

Here’s a chart explaining most of the types of fares that newcomers will likely be interested in. (See the TransLink website for every fare type and pass.)

First, some definitions that will be handy:

  • A FareDealer is a store authorized to sell our transit tickets and passes. They include major outlets like Mac’s, 7-Eleven, Safeway or London Drugs. Use our search tool to find a FareDealer near you, or look out for the FareDealer sign in shop windows!
  • Concession fares apply to children 5-13 years, secondary students 14 to 19 years with a valid GoCard, seniors 65+ and HandyCard holders. Children 4 years and younger ride free.
  • Adult fares are applied to anyone who is not a child, student, or senior.
Cash fare
Click for large image 1-zone
– Adult $2.50
– Concession $1.75
2-zone
– Adult $3.75
– Concession $2.50
3-zone
– Adult $5
– Concession $3.50
A cash fare lets you travel for up to 90 minutes across the Lower Mainland. Travel for one, two or three zones by bus, SeaBus or SkyTrain. These fares are offered on weekdays from start of service to 6:30 p.m. (Bought a ticket for too few zones? See the AddFare info below.)

Where to buy: Bus, SkyTrain/SeaBus ticket machines

Discount fare
Click for large image For all zones
– Adult $2.50
– Concession $1.75
A discounted cash fare price is offered after 6:30 pm on weekdays, and all day Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. It allows you to travel for 90-minutes throughout all zones.

Where to buy: Bus, SkyTrain/SeaBus ticket machines

DayPass
Click for large image Adult $9
Concession $5
A DayPass provides unlimited transit use on all buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus for one day from the start of the first transit service. You can use it for travel through all zones, and save money over buying single fares when you take multiple trips.

Where to buy: FareDealers (can use on any day), SkyTrain/SeaBus ticket machines (good for day of purchase only), NOT available on buses

FareSavers (books of 10 tickets)
Click for large image 1-zone Adult – $19
2-zone Adult – $28.50
3-zone Adult – $38
Concession – $16
Tickets are sold in books of 10 at FareDealer outlets, and can be bought in 1, 2, and 3 zone varieties. Like a cash fare, each FareSaver ticket is valid for 90 minutes of travel from the time it is validated—however, the cost per ticket is less than a cash fare. You must validate your FareSaver before you start your trip, in the bus farebox or in machines at train stations. (If you need to cross into more zones than your FareSaver allows, check out the AddFare info below.)

Where to buy: FareDealers

FareCard (monthly pass)
Click for large image 1-zone Adult -$73
2-zone Adult – $99
3-zone Adult – $136
Concession – $42
You can buy a FareCard for one, two or three zone travel by bus, SeaBus, and SkyTrain services. They provide unlimited travel within the selected zones on weekdays, and across all zones on weekends, statutory holidays, and after 6:30 p.m. on weekday evenings. (If you need to travel into more zones than your FareCard allows, check out the AddFare info below.)

Where to buy: FareDealers

Olympic six-week souvenir pass
Click for large image 1-zone Adult – $110
2-zone Adult – $149
3-zone Adult – $204
Concession – $63
Limited edition six-week 2010 Games Transit Passes provide unlimited travel on buses, SeaBus and SkyTrain. These passes are good for travel starting February 8, 2010 and run right through to the Closing Ceremonies for the Paralympics on March 21, 2010. (If you need to travel into more zones than your souvenir pass allows, check out the AddFare info below.)

Where to buy: FareDealers

AddFare
Click for large image Ticket upgrade:
1-zone to 2-zone
– Adult $1.25
– Concession $0.75
1-zone to 3-zone
– Adult $2.50
– Concession $1.75
2-zone to 3-zone
– Adult $1.25
– Concession $1
If you bought a one- or two-zone fare, but need to travel through more zones than that, you can upgrade your ticket on the bus or at SkyTrain or SeaBus ticket vending machines. You pay an AddFare that is equivalent to the difference in fares. Keep your original transfer plus the AddFare transfer in case someone needs to check your ticket.

Where to buy: Buses, SkyTrain/SeaBus ticket machines

YVR Add Fare
Click for large image $5 on top of cash fare

A $5 fare premium, payable on all cash fares bought for travel from the airport to Richmond or Vancouver. Charged only at the three stations on Sea Island. Any prepaid fares are exempt from this AddFare (FareSaver tickets, DayPasses, FareCards etc).

Where to buy: Ticket machines on YVR-Airport, Sea Island, and Templeton Stations

(Remember, you can’t use any of these passes to ride West Coast Express – you’ll need to pay an extra fare for WCE travel, available from the ticket machines at their stations.)

Where to buy tickets and what payment to use

Here’s a chart explaining the different places you can buy your fare, which fare options they offer, and what payment options they accept.

FareDealer outlets

Find a FareDealer
What tickets do they sell?
FareSaver ticket books
DayPasses (good for any day)
FareCards (monthly passes)
Olympic six-week souvenir passes (if the outlet has them)
Types of payment accepted
All types of payment accepted.

Gives change? Yes

Bus
Click for large image What tickets do they sell?
Cash fares
AddFares
Types of payment accepted
Exact change in coins only (put the coins in the right slot of the farebox)

Gives change? No

SkyTrain or SeaBus ticket vending machine
Click for large image What tickets do they sell?
Cash fares
DayPass (good for only the day you buy the pass)
AddFares
Types of payment accepted
Coins (except pennies)
$5, $10, and $20 bills
Visa and MasterCard
Debit cards (Interac)

Gives change? Yes

West Coast Express ticket vending machine
Click for large image What tickets do they sell?
WCE AddFares
WCE One-Way Fares
WCE Return Fares
WCE Weekly Passes
WCE 28-Day Passes
WCE Bike Passes
And a few other things… see the WCE website!
Types of payment accepted
Coins (except pennies)
$5, $10, and $20 bills
Visa and MasterCard
Debit cards (Interac)

Gives change? Yes

For more info…

So hopefully this should help you out! Check the Fares and Passes section of the TransLink website for more info on our tickets and passes.

That includes the full Transit Tariff, and here’s the Refund Policy, in case you’re curious.

For any further inquiries, please contact our Customer Information line at 604-953-3333– they will be happy to help you out.

And feel free to add any comments/suggestions below!