How to travel from Vancouver to Victoria by transit and ferry

With files from Phillip Jang/Times Colonist

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Photo Victoria

For those who have never taken a trip to explore B.C.’s beautiful capital, Victoria, here’s a handy guide on how to navigate the route and save money by taking transit to and from the ferry terminal.

Tour the Butchart Gardens, visit the Royal BC Museum and Canada’s oldest Chinatown, go whale watching or play a few rounds of golf. Tourism Victoria offers an extensive guide on what to see and do to help you plan your trip.

But first you need to get there.

Share this with your friends, family members and other avid travellers to help make their visit as hassle-free as possible.

Route

Note that a well-planned trip using transit is expected to take about four hours just to go from Vancouver to downtown Victoria. To get the most out of the trip it would be best to book accommodation ahead of time and spend at least a weekend in Victoria.

Start by catching the Canada Line from the station closest to you and ride the SkyTrain to Bridgeport Station. Take bus 620 from Bay 11 to Tsawwassen ferry terminal and expect the bus ride to take about 45 minutes.

Purchase a ferry ticket to Victoria. Sailings generally start at 7 a.m. departing every hour on the hour with a few notable exceptions — see the schedule for details. The crossing time to Swartz Bay is one hour and 35 minutes.

Catch the 70 express bus or 72 bus to Victoria with an expected travel time of one hour and 15 minutes or an hour on the express bus. When you’re ready to return to Vancouver catch the 70 or 72 from the stop at Government and Superior Streets.

To allow for any delays in travel time it would be best to catch the 8 p.m. ferry from Swartz Bay, which departs daily. There is also a 9 p.m. ferry that departs daily but on most days that is the last sailing of the evening.

Price

If you’re planning to make this trip more than two times it makes sense to buy a Compass Card from the ferry gift shop. One card costs $16 including a $6 deposit and $10 in fare value.

Compass Cards can also be purchased at one of the Compass Vending Machines inside SkyTrain stations. The adult card is blue, the orange “concession” card is for people 65 years of age or older and youth/kids under 18.

Transit can cost as little as $4.55 for a one-way trip in Vancouver on a weekend or after 6:30 p.m. on a weekday. The $4.55 breaks down to $2.30 using a Compass Card for transit in Vancouver and $2.25 for the bus to Victoria, which doesn’t include transfers to other buses.

If you’re travelling on a weekday before 6:30 p.m. and paying with cash it will cost $12.15 — $5 in Victoria for a day pass if you need to take more than one bus and $7.15 in Metro Vancouver.

If you need to take more than one bus in Victoria to get back to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal you’ll have to pay two fares — $4.50 or get a day pass for $5.

The ferry from Swartz Bay to Vancouver costs $17.20 and you’re saving $57.50 by not bringing a car on the ferry. Add in the return trip and that amounts to $115 in savings.

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Melissa is a reporter at Vancouver Is Awesome and has worked primarily in radio and online media. She grew up in Ontario, went to school in Halifax and worked in Northern B.C. before moving to Vancouver. If you've got a story to share email: melissa@vancouverisawesome.com