Don’t let the lack of a car stop you from exploring our beautiful capital city, Victoria, this summer because you can easily take public transit to get there! You can visit Tourism Victoria‘s website for all the city has to offer.
In total, the trip from Vancouver to Victoria will take you about four hours, so plan accordingly whether you’d like to do a day trip or spend an entire weekend there. You’ll be riding with BC Transit, BC Ferries and TransLink, so there will be three separate fares.
Check list before you go
- A face covering for all styles of transportation
- $5 in coins for your BC Transit fare – $2.50 in coins to pay the fare for the bus ride from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to downtown Victoria, and another $2.50 for the return trip. Alternatively, you can purchase a BC Transit DayPASS for $5 for unlimited travel for the entire day on any route! You can find all fare details at bctransit.com/victoria.
- Your TransLink fare, which varies depending on how many zones you travel. You can easily estimate your fare on our website.
- For a trip from downtown Vancouver, it’s a two zone fare, which means you’ll need a Compass Card with at least $6.90 in Stored Value, or $8.50 in cash to cover a return trip.
Transit to the ferry terminal
To get to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, you’ll have to take the 620 Tsawwassen Ferry Express bus from Bridgeport Station. There are many ways to get to Bridgeport Station, so we’ll cover the most common way: taking the SkyTrain’s Canada Line to Bridgeport Station from downtown Vancouver.
First determine whether you’d be starting your trip on a bus or at a SkyTrain station.
If you’re starting at the SkyTrain station, you’ll have the option to paying with your Compass Card, paying with your contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card, or purchasing a Compass Ticket from the Compass Vending Machine using cash, debit or credit. The benefit of a Compass Card is fares are discounted, so if you’re planning to travel lots this summer by transit, we recommend you pickup a Compass Card. Here’s where you can buy your Compass Card.
Once you’re inside the station, follow signs to Richmond–Brighouse or YVR Airport if you’re travelling south.
If you’re starting your trip on the bus before transferring onto the SkyTrain to get to Bridgeport Station, we recommend you pay with a Compass Card or a contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card. If you pay by exact cash, the bus transfer is only works on other buses since it doesn’t open the faregates at SkyTrain stations.
A few other things to keep in mind. Everyone must have their own proof of payment, so you can’t use one Compass Card or contactless credit card to pay for multiple people. You can, however, use one credit card to pay for one fare and then the same credit card on Apple Pay to pay for another fare.
Once you’re at Bridgeport Station, catch the 620 bus from Bay 12. To find this bay, you’ll have to double back after you exit the station. Please pay attention to the ground markings and follow the lines to queue up for the bus. Wear a face covering if you’re able to and please practice physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet).
The travel time from Bridgeport Station to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is typically around 30-45 minutes and we schedule our buses to match the ferry schedules as best we can. However, please always plan for extra travel time as our buses are only as reliable as the road it travels on. There’s often congestion, especially during peak hours, on Highway 99 and the George Massey Tunnel, which the 620 uses to get to the ferry terminal.
Use our Trip Planner or Google Trip Planner on our website to make sure you make it in time to the terminal for the ferry you want to catch. You can view ferry schedules on the BC Ferries website. Don’t forget to account for the time to walk from the bus stop to the inside the terminal to purchase your ferry ticket and then the time to walk to the berth to get on the ferry.
At the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal
Prior to entering a BC Ferries’ terminal, they will be screening all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and restricting travel to any customer that does not meet the screening requirements. Transport Canada’s asking customers to wear face coverings to cover their mouth and nose during travel if they cannot maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others while on board. Check out these resources that BC Ferries has put together that identify the new measures and procedures that are in place at their terminals and on board ferries to keep their crew and customers safe and moving.
Once inside, proceed to the Self-Service Ticket booths to purchase your ferry ticket. It accepts credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express), debit cards and BC Ferries Experience™ Card. You may also purchase a ticket from the counter. Check out BC Ferries’ 10 Travel Tips to Ensure a Smooth Sailing.
The ferry terminal is like an airport, so your ticket will indicate a berth. Proceed to your berth to wait for boarding and be prepared to show your ticket to staff as you make your way there.
As always, please follow physical distancing rules. Leave space between you and your fellow passengers unless they’re from the same household. Some seats may be closed to support distancing, so keep an eye out for signs on seats in the waiting lounges. Listen closely to announcements and follow the direction of BC Ferries crew at all times within the terminal and on board.
At the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
While both buses take you to downtown Victoria, the 70 bus operates as an express — that means it doesn’t stop as many stops between the terminal and downtown. Both bus routes will drop you off at Government and Superior Streets, near the Royal BC Museum and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
If you’re planning to make a return trip on the same day or plan to use BC Transit buses throughout the day, we recommend you purchase a DayPASS from the operator. The cost of a DayPASS is $5, which is the price of two adult cash fares. Once you have your DayPASS, the next time you ride the bus, you “pay” by showing the front of the pass to the driver.
The single trip cash fare for the Victoria Regional Transit System, operated by BC Transit, is $2.50 cash for adults, seniors and youth.There are no transfers — that means purchasing a DayPASS is your best option otherwise you have to pay a new fare every time you board a bus.
Like TransLink, BC Transit is encouraging all customers to wear a face covering while using transit.
Returning to Vancouver
Ready to head home? Just make the reverse trip! The 70 and 72 bus departs from Government Street and Superior Street, or you can catch it along Douglas Street. The trip is typically between about an hour to an hour and 30 minutes from there to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. BC Transit uses a system called NextRide providing trip planning and real-time information for your trip. Make sure to check NextRide to ensure you do not miss your ferry!
If there’s anything we missed, let us know in the comments!