Vancouver, we’ve got you covered for the TransLink!
TransLink helps Vancouver transit riders with over 271 million journeys each year with their buses, trains, and ferries. Riders cross the city with the SkyTrain lines, sail over (a small part of) the ocean on SeaBus, and move from community to community with conventional buses.
Since the 1990s, Vancouver’s transit system has been interconnected, allowing passengers to seamlessly move between vehicles to make their way across Metro Vancouver with ease. But a system this large can definitely be complicated to navigate.
But fear not, Rocketman is here to save the day—or at least help you navigate TransLink. We provide riders with real-time alerts and updates so getting to their destination is a piece of cake!
How to pay for the TransLink
If you want to use the breadth of TransLink’s services, including the SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express, you’ll need to get yourself a Compass Card or Compass Ticket.
If you’re just visiting or aren’t a frequent TransLink user, committing to a $6 Compass Card (even though the fee is technically a refundable deposit fee that you get back if you return your card) might be a little more than you’re willing to do. Luckily, TransLink also allows you to tap-to-pay with credit cards or a mobile wallet. Accepted payment methods include American Express, Mastercard and Visa, along with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
How to buy fares/passes?
If you are using a Compass Card or Compass Ticket, you’ll need to make sure that you set it up in advance (including adding any funds) because adding money to your card online can take up to two hours.
If you are opting to pay with a credit card or mobile wallet, you can simply tap-to-pay at the station before you get on a vehicle.
You can use cash to board buses and obtain a paper transfer, but that transfer is only valid on other buses—you will not be able to continue your journey on SkyTrain, Seabus or West Coast Express.
Where to buy fares/passes?
Compass Cards are widely available and can be purchased in the following places:
Compass Vending Machines, which are located in all SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express stations, along with some London Drug stores
Compass Customer Service Centres, located at Stadium–Chinatown Station and the West Coast Express Customer Service office at Waterfront Station
Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay ferry terminals
You can load your Compass Cards at these locations as well, but if you are managing your card online you’ll want to ensure you add payment at least two hours prior to your trip.
Those paying via credit card or mobile wallet can simply tap-to-pay at the station or terminal before you board. If you are using cash fare to board a TransLink bus, you pay when you get on the bus (and request a transfer if you are transferring to a different bus).
TransLink Fares Zones
There are three different fare zones for TransLink services across Metro Vancouver, which determine the amount that your fare costs. These zones are:
1-Zone covers Vancouver proper
2-Zone covers Richmond, New Westminster, Burnaby, North Vancouver, and West Vancouver
3-Zone covers Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Langley, Surrey, and Delta
For more information, you can see TransLink’s fare zone page.
Bus trips, regardless of where they take place, are considered to be 1-Zone fare. Riders travelling on the SkyTrain or SeaBus will require a valid fare for 1-, 2-, or 3-Zone.
If you are travelling after 6:30 pm on weekdays, or anytime on the weekend or holidays, your fare will be considered 1-Zone.
What is POP?
You are required to purchase a fare to ride any and all TransLink vehicles, and provide proof of purchase (or POP) when requested by Transit Police or Transit Security.
Both police and security regularly ride, monitor, and request POP on TransLink vehicles, and not having it can cost you a whopping $173 fine (not ideal). To prove POP, police or security will scan the Compass Card, credit card, or mobile device that you used to pay to ensure it has been tapped—you do not have to have a paper receipt or other form of POP with you.
When you travel on TransLink with a Compass Card or Compass Ticket, or tap-to-pay with a credit card or mobile wallet, an automatic 90-minute transfer is added. This transfer applies to regular buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus vehicles.
If your journey includes travelling on a West Coast Express vehicle, you have a 120-minute transfer window. For those using cash to pay for fares on a TransLink bus, you can obtain a paper transfer but it will only be valid for other buses, not the SkyTrain or SeaBus.
If you are a frequent flyer on TransLink vehicles, having a Compass Card to travel with means you can purchase a DayPass or monthly pass that can help you save money on your travels.
Eligible students are able to purchase a discounted U-Pass BC, allowing them to take advantage of the TransLink system to get around Vancouver. Likewise, discounted passes are available for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities through the BC Bus Pass Program.
If you are making a trip on TransLink with a group and would like to purchase a group pass, you can do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. They will need at least 10 days to process your request, if you need something sooner you’ll need to contact the Compass Customer Service Centre via phone at 604-453-4490.
Compass Cards are TransLink’s solution to a contactless payment system. A single card can be used across the system to access regular buses, the SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.
A Compass Card will run you $6 for the deposit fee, but when you return your card you get it back. You can pick one up at any SkyTrain, SeaBus or West Coast Express station, online, at a Compass Vending Machine, or at customer service located at Stadium–Chinatown or West Coast Express offices.
You can manage your Compass Card online, at a CVM, or in person at a Customer Service Centre. Compass Cards allow you to load money on to them so you can simply tap and go, or you can purchase tickets, DayPasses or monthly passes. You can even participate in the Bike Parkade enrollment program.
What is HandyDART?
HandyDART is TransLink’s paratransit system. They help those who are not able to safely navigate the conventional system access affordable and efficient public transit. Eligible persons need to apply through TransLink to access the HandyDART system.
HandyDART provides riders with door-to-door service. All HandyDART trips count as 1-Zone fare trips, and can be paid for with cash, Adult FareSaver Tickets, or Adult Monthly Passes.
Those with HandyCards access conventional transit service (HandyCards cannot be used to pay for HandyDART trips), including the SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express. The HandyCard allows for free travel to the holders’ attendants, and also allows them access to purchase TaxiSavers.
Getting around Vancouver with TransLink
The greater Vancouver area is pretty big, and TransLink serves all of it. Which means it can be easy to get lost along the way. Rocketman is here to help you plan your route, stay updated along your journey, and have a stress-free ride with TransLink.
What is SkyTrain?
SkyTrain is TransLink’s rapid light transit system. This network of train lines serves the GVA and helps you get to where you’re going faster.
What is SeaBus?
SeaBus is TransLink’s passenger-only ferry system. It crosses Burrard Inlet, connecting Vancouver and North Vancouver.
Rocketman helps you stay on top of your trip while you’re riding TransLink vehicles. We can help you stay on top of bus and train schedules, let you know of any delays, and help predict when you’ll arrive at your destination. We hope to help make your TransLink trips less stressful!
TransLink safety and security policies
Safety is a top concern for TransLink. They aim to deliver a transit system that not only gets you to where you’re going, but promotes the health, safety, and security of their riders.
To that end, they’ve put a number of safety and security measures in place to help protect both riders and their staff. These include:
Having Transit Police and Transit Security who regularly monitor the route, they can be contacted via phone at 604-515-8300, text message at 87-77-77, or through the SeeSay app for Android users
Security cameras throughout TransLink stations, terminals, and trains that are actively monitored
Passenger silent alarms and speakerphones located on various TransLink vehicles that connect you to the operator in an emergency situation
Emergency cabinets located on SkyTrain platforms fit with an emergency telephone, fire extinguisher, and an emergency train stop button
You can ride with peace of mind knowing TransLink has your back!
TransLink COVID-19 information
TransLink has remained in operation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helping riders in the GVA get to where they need to go. However, there have been some changes implemented to promote physical distancing, improve sanitation, and help cut down on overcrowding (where possible).
TransLink asks the following of their riders during this time:
Do not take TransLink if you are feeling unwell
Wear your mask while waiting for or riding TransLink vehicles
Practice social distancing while waiting for or riding TransLink vehicles
Bring hand sanitizer along with you and use it before and after your ride
Plan your trip in advance (*cough* Rocketman *cough*) and allow for a little extra travel time
Opt for a contactless payment option
Is TransLink safe?
TransLink takes passenger safety very seriously. They provide a number of security and safety measures that you can use, should a situation arise.
What happens if there is an emergency on TransLink?
If you are taking TransLink and you encounter or are involved in an emergency situation, there are a number of security protocols in place.
TransLink stations and terminals are equipped with emergency phones that connect you with Transit Police, who can provide assistance. Transit Police, Transit Security, and other members of staff are able to provide assistance and administer first aid, should the situation require it. Stations, terminals, and vehicles are equipped with CCTV cameras that are actively monitored. And vehicles are equipped with emergency communication equipment.
At a train station or terminal…
If you are at a TransLink station or terminal and an emergency arises, there are a number of tools and support available to you.
SkyTrain stations are frequented by Transit Police and Transit Security who can provide assistance and first aid, if needed. In the designated waiting area at SkyTrain stations, there is an emergency cabinet that is equipped with a red emergency phone, a fire extinguisher, and an emergency train stop button.
This is a great place to stop quickly and remind you to follow all posted safety signs and protocols within a station or terminal. They are there to ensure the safety of you and all other TransLink riders!
On a train…
If an emergency arises while you are riding the SkyTrain, your train operator can be alerted via the yellow strip posted above the window, which is the silent passenger alarm. A speakerphone within the train will put you in contact with the SkyTrain operator who can assist you.
On a bus…
TransLink buses are equipped with an on-board communication system that the operator can use to obtain assistance should an emergency occur. Alert your operator if a situation is occurring that they are unaware of.
On a ferry…
If you are riding a SeaBus ferry and an emergency situation arises, alert the operator who has an on-board communication system that they can use to seek assistance for emergencies.
What do I do if I see something on the TransLink and need to report it?
If you see something during your TransLink journey that you need to report, you can do so by contacting the Transit Police via phone at at 604-515-8300 or text at 87-77-77.
If the incident requires immediate medical, police, or fire assistance, call 911.
How do I lodge a complaint with TransLink?
To file a complaint with TransLink, you can submit it through their online feedback form or by calling them at 604-953-3333 Monday through Friday from 5:30 am to 12:30 am, and on weekends from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm. While you can also usually report it through the TransLink live chat services, they are temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19.
What to do when you lose something while riding TransLink?
Finish your TransLink journey and realize that you left something behind? You’re not the only one, it happens all the time!
If you’ve left something behind on a TransLink vehicle, or at a station or terminal, you can call the Lost Property Office at 604-953-3334 between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm from Monday to Friday and report it—that way staff can get in contact with you if it’s been turned in.
Items can be picked up from the Lost Property Office at the Stadium–Chinatown SkyTrain Station. It’s important to note that due to COVID, the Lost Property Office can only assist one person at a time. They recommend that you call in advance to ensure that your item is ready to be picked up.
There is currently a delay of three to four days for items to be delivered to the office. If the item that you misplaced is particularly important, like medication or keys, call the office immediately so they can prioritize its delivery, if possible.
What to do when you lose something on the bus?
If you’ve left something behind on a TransLink bus, you can call the Lost Property office at 604-953-3334 to report it.
What to do when you lose something on the train?
If you’ve left something behind on a TransLink train, you can call the Lost Property office at 604-953-3334 to report it.
What to do when you lose something on the ferry?
If you’ve left something behind on a TransLink ferry, you can call the Lost Property office at 604-953-3334 to report it.