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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
– Adult $3.75
– Concession $2.50
– 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

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

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

Click for large image What tickets do they sell?
Cash fares
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)
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!


  • By Ella, January 14, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

    Hi Jhenifer,
    You’ve got some mistakes in the monthly fare card prices there- just FYI.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 14, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    Garghhh, will fix.

  • By MaxNV, January 14, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    Maybe you could make it clear the you can’t buy Day Passes on buses. I may be mistaken about that though.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 14, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    You can’t. I will make that more clear on the DayPass section.

  • By Kenny, January 15, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    Also for both pass sections (Olympic and monthly) the wording in brackets says ‘if you need to travel into more zones than your faresaver allows’, when you mean ‘than your pass allows’.

  • By Jimbo, January 17, 2010 @ 7:42 am

    I was wondering about Translink’s new ad, it shows a family of 5 in tropical wear standing waiting for a Canada Line (presumably at the aiport). 2 adults, a teen and two children.

    Now if I do the math for a two zone ticket that’s $3.75 * 2 plus $2.50 * 3 (assuming the teen has a go-card) = $15.00. Plus 5 * $5.00 = $25.00 of Airport addfares for a total Canada Line ticket fare for the family of $40.00.

    Now I’m a big supporter of the Canadaline, however you could get pretty far in a cab for $40, certainly anywhere in Richmond or Vancouver from the airport. Taking the train clearly doesn’t make financial sense here so it is strange that Translink is promoting this scenario.

    Granted, they’d have to get one of those mini-van cabs to have enough room in one cab.

  • By Kenny, January 17, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

    But if they had just gone and purchased their faresaver tickets, they’d avoid the $25 of airport addfares & have their return fares as well as more tickets for their use of transit during their stay in Vancouver (as tourists) (or if they are locals who occasionally take transit).

    It’s still good value for the speed and usually comfort of getting downtown.

    On another note, could someone confirm the plan of not allowing taxi pick-ups at the airport terminal during the Olympics for security reasons, and instead making taxi riders take the Canada Line for 2 stops (for free since it’d still be on Sea Island)?

  • By Jimbo, January 17, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

    True, they could save with faresavers. However, when a family from out of town arrives at the airport they most likely wouldn’t know about the faresavers. They would then see it’s $40 to take the train and may very well say “forget it” and take take a cab instead.

    Who knows maybe I’m wrong. Or not. It’ll be interesting to compare ridership numbers before and after the fare increase.

    That is if the family could find the train station from the airport despite the poor signage. Hint: nobody from out of town knows what the “Canada Line” is, so signs with this text aren’t very useful. A few of them do have the useful train symbol, as they should.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 18, 2010 @ 9:15 am

    Kenny: thanks for the corrections!

    Jimbo: I’m pretty sure YVR will definitely have more staff on hand during the Olympic period, and they’ll help direct people to the train if they miss it. Did you see how they had staff holding signs during the Canada Line opening?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 18, 2010 @ 9:20 am

    Kenny: about your second question. I answered this in another thread too and here’s what I wrote.

    Q: I heard a brief news story a couple days ago but can’t find it now, which mentioned that for the duration of the Olympics, taxicabs will not be allowed to park at YVR and that there will be a designated lot near the airport to which taxi customers will need to take the Canada Line if they want to get a cab. Can you confirm this Jhenifer? If so, which station will the taxi lot be at? And also if so, will there be any compensation for taxi drivers who would ordinarily be carrying passengers directly from the airport?

    This actually is a question for YVR, but I gave their media folks a call to see what the situation is. I’m told that things are basically going to be exactly the same as usual at the airport — all vehicles with YVR commercial licenses (which includes taxis) can pick up and drop off at the curb, and you can still be dropped off at the curb by a friend/family member too. Visit the YVR website for updates though, and fill in their contact form if you have any further questions.

    Also, see ;-)’s comment above for a link to a very short CKNW article about the taxis in case you are interested.

  • By Mathew, January 20, 2010 @ 2:05 am

    My question relates to fare expiry. I live near Waterfront station and sometimes take the Canada Line to Richmond for lunch or shopping. When it comes time for the return journey, I might find that it is 1:18 and my two-zone fare expires at 1:30. Now obviously I can’t get from Richmond to Waterfront in 12 minutes so I have to buy another cash fare from the machine. But do I need a two-zone fare for $3.75, or will the one-zone fare for $2.50 suffice? I shouldn’t have to buy a two-zone fare, because I still have twelve minutes left on my previous fare, which will be enough time to get me across the zone boundary on the train. However, if I buy a one-zone fare from the machine at the station, it will be good for Zone 2 only. What I really need is a one-zone fare good for Zone 1, but how can I purchase that when I’m presently in zone 2?

  • By Mike, January 20, 2010 @ 7:31 am

    Travel to marine drive station before 1:30 (first station after zone boundary inbound), get out of the train, buy a 1 zone ticket, and get back on a train to waterfront.

  • By Mathew, January 20, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

    I could do that, but it’s inconvenient to interrupt my trip home, just to save $1.25. Surely there is a better solution?

  • By Julio Aguilar, January 20, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    For the VANOC Accredited Workforce, do we need to pay for West Coast Express??

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 20, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    Julio: The VANOC accredited workforce accreditation pass covers West Coast Express and HandyDART.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 20, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

    Mathew: Well, the time limit for the fare is 90 minutes, so if your travel falls outside that time limit, then yes, you do have to pay again, and there isn’t really a way to buy a zone 1 ticket in zone 2. (Since you are travelling from Richmond to Vancouver, you still are travelling in two zones.) I’m not sure there’s an alternate method to that, besides what Mike said. Any other folks have suggestions?

  • By ;-), January 20, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

    Yes, the stress of trying to meet the 90 minute window to run errands is very stressful. Especially with unpredictable traffic congestion, late buses, and possible line-ups at the service you want to use (banks, grocery stores). It’s one reason I got myself a monthly pass, use day passes, or reach for car keys.

    Another thing I do is get a monthly pass, but get off at Marine station to get a zone add fare to cover the time in Zone 2, then get back on train. This gives extra time on the add fare to return to Zone 1.

  • By Ric, January 22, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

    Hi Jhenifer, are fastrax stickers, go cards, u passes and the government bus passes valid during the games?

  • By Aaron, January 24, 2010 @ 5:08 am

    I have tickets to Olympic events and understand that it includes use of the WCE, is there a way to get tickets before traveling or do I just walk on with my Event tickets in hand?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 25, 2010 @ 10:57 am

    Ric: all normal transit fares are valid during the Games. Should be business as usual!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 25, 2010 @ 10:58 am

    Aaron: the event ticket itself acts as the pass. You don’t need to get an extra transfer for the WCE.

  • By Kim, February 2, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    Jennifer: so if I have tickets to the Olympic hockey game, I don’t need to buy any transit tickets and I can use the game ticket to ride trough all 3 zones?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 3, 2010 @ 9:23 am

    Jennifer: Your ticket is good for unlimited transit on the day of your event, until the end of service that day (roughly at 4 a.m. the next day). So if you’re only using transit on that day, your ticket should cover you! If you take transit outside of that timeframe though, you will need to buy a fare for the system.

  • By Jay, February 8, 2010 @ 10:44 am

    I am working with the Cultural Olympiad, I got a pass from them with a translink sticker on it. It doesnt have my picture, will this be used as my transit pass? The olypiad people said that it will be used.

    Please let me know for sure.


  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 8, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

    Jay: Yes, that’s a transit pass! It is valid until March 24.

  • By Jeff, March 1, 2010 @ 11:41 pm

    Hi I am working at the Olympic Village. Anyway I just wanted to note that my accreditation was not accepted to or from work today (March 1st) It would be great if the bus drivers were notified that it is still valid, as this is probably affecting a lot of people.


  • By ;-), March 2, 2010 @ 8:14 am

    I used my volunteer accreditation without problems (Mar 1st). I recommend you write down the bus number and time you were on the service.

    This driver may need a personal visit from the supervisor.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 2, 2010 @ 11:43 am

    Jeff: a memo has in fact been sent out to refresh everyone’s memories! So hopefully this won’t happen again.

  • By Anonymous, March 3, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

    Can I still use my VANOC accreditation as a bus pass to get to and from my regular job (as my Olympics volunteer position has ended)?

  • By Aneeta, March 9, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    Hi im wondering if the accredition still works to get on the skytrain.bus??

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 9, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    Anonymous, Aneeta:
    Olympic accreditation is valid as a transit fare until March 21 24.

  • By Poco, March 10, 2010 @ 7:20 am

    Is the Olympic accreditation valid as transit fare until March 21 or 24? The comment above contradicts the article above.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 10, 2010 @ 9:35 am

    Poco: Oops, my mistake. Olympic accreditation is valid until March 24. However, the special souvenir FareCards are valid only until March 21. I’ll correct the comment above.

  • By ;-), March 21, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

    Remember your Olympic accreditation is good until the 24th. Take a ride on the West Coast Express or Seabus after work until Wednesday evening to make the most of it.

    Today is the last day for the souvenir pass. Remember to switch to faresavers to avoid a surprise when you return to work on Monday.

    Did anyone collect all three souvenir pass designs? Is it illegal to buy/sell expired passes on eBay to collect all three? Is Translink selling expired passes at their Metrotown location to collectors as a discount? Will the Olympic passes be door prizes at the next Blog meetup?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 22, 2010 @ 9:52 am


    Sadly we can’t give away the souvenir cards! I’ve asked our FareDealer department, and the reason we can’t give them away is because the passes can be claimed as tax credits.

  • By ;-), March 22, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    I think my accountant said there is a limit to when they can be submitted. What if we held on to them for 1, 8, or 10 years before they are sold? I hate to see them destroyed.

  • By @Van, March 23, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

    Interesting that the Buzzer and Customer Service say that the workforce accreditation passes are good until end of day March 24th, but the actual Tariff (Bylaw 62-2010) says end of day March 31st. Since the Tariff is the actual bylaw enforced by transit police for fare evasion, doesn’t that mean there’s no way to enforce the earlier date of March 24th for anyone with a workforce accreditation pass?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 24, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    Good question. You’re indeed right that the tariff says March 31. When I asked our Olympic team about this, they were only aware of communicating about the March 24 date. After a bit more asking around with our revenue/fare folks, I’ve been told that we recognize these products only when valid by the issuing agency — ie: VANOC recognizes the accreditation up to the March 24 date, so we will do the same. The dates in the tariff were intended to cover a broader window just in case.

  • By @Van, March 24, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    Thanks for looking into it, Jhenifer, that makes sense. Too bad the actual work (of decommissioning the venues) goes beyond the 24th!

  • By Patricia, March 24, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

    Do FareSaver 10 ticket packs ever expire? (i.e. if we buy ticket packs before April 1 at the older price, are they invalid or do they expire?)

  • By Paul, March 25, 2010 @ 1:24 am


    The faresaver 10 pack tickets never expire. Well at least not until you validate one and then of course you have 90 minutes till it expires.

    So yes it would be wise to go out now and stock up on as many as you want. Before the fare increase.

Other Links to this Post

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for The Buzzer blog » Olympic travel tips: All about transit fares [] on — January 15, 2010 @ 1:06 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » Olympic travel tips: bike travel during the Games — January 20, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » Olympic travel tips: Park and Ride lots for the Games period — January 21, 2010 @ 9:00 am

  4. The Buzzer blog » Olympic travel tips: a guide to recognizing your transit staff — January 22, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  5. The Buzzer blog » Olympic travel tips: web and mobile resources for transit info during the Games — February 1, 2010 @ 9:00 am

  6. The Buzzer blog » Olympic travel tips: transit etiquette and behaviour — February 4, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  7. The Buzzer blog » Your Olympic event tickets have your transit fare covered (all day!) — February 16, 2010 @ 10:22 am

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