How to travel from the Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport

Ferries, buses, and SkyTrains

In this video, I show you how to get from BC’s Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport. If all goes smoothly, expect it to be a 2-hour trip.

I got dropped off at the Langdale ferry terminal and I’m running to get on the ferry and take the 40-minute ferry ride to Horseshoe Bay. I rushed but ended up having lots of time! They managed to squeeze in a few last vehicles.

Compass Card vs Compass ticket vs Cash

If you already have a Compass Card to pay for the upcoming bus and train ride, you’re set. If you don’t, you can buy a pre-loaded Compass Card in the ferry’s gift shop. A Compass Card is a reusable card that regular transit riders use instead of cash. Instead of looking for loonies and toonies, you can just tap your card when getting on a bus or entering a SkyTrain station.

A Compass ticket is a single use paper card that you use to "tap in" like a Compass Card. Your Compass ticket will be good for 90 minutes from the time you tap in on the bus to the time you tap out when you get off the train.

If you don’t have a Compass Card to pay for your trip you can pay with exact coin for the bus but you won’t get a transfer for the train.

Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport

Exiting the Ferry & Catching Your Bus

Once the ferry arrives in Horseshoe Bay, disembark by following the "Passenger Exit Signs." Follow the "Arrivals" signs to make your way through the terminal and back to the main entrance.

If you don’t have a Compass Card, I recommend you buy a Compass ticket from one of two Compass vending machines near where you'll exit the ferry terminal. Your ticket will work for your bus and train ride. You'll be traveling into two transit zones, so buy a 2-zone ticket. The machine will guide you through buying the appropriate ticket.

Walk out the terminal and to your right should be the 257 Express Bus. If it’s not there, it usually arrives shortly. Use your preloaded Compass Card to tap in and pay your fare or tap using your Compass ticket. If paying cash, drop your coins in the little machine next to the bus driver.

The 257 is a 35-minute express bus ride that pretty much takes you right downtown without a ton of stops. If time's not of the essence, there’s also a 250 bus but it’s not an express. The ride will be longer but it'll get downtown as well.

Riding the SkyTrain

Our bus ride is going to come to its end along West Georgia Street at Granville Street. The 257 will drop you off pretty much directly in front of the Vancouver City Centre train terminal. Chances are you won't be the only person on the bus going to the airport - watch for passengers with suitcases starting to stand up. This is your cue that you're approaching your stop.

Once off the bus, head down the escalator to the train station - just follow the train signs. What you're looking for is the Canada Line route.

If you had paid with coin on the bus, you'll need to stop at the nearby Compass ticket vending machines to pay your fare for the train ride to the airport. Keep the paper ticket that the machine prints because you need it to tap into and out of the gates that lead to and from the train stations.

If you missed your train, don't worry. There'll be another on in a few minutes. Not every train goes to the airport so watch the overhead signs and listen for an announcement that tells you the next train is for YVR (that's the airport code for the Vancouver International Airport). The ride to the airport is 25 minutes.

Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport

Arriving at YVR

The SkyTrain starts underground but later surfaces. This means you’ll see the airport as you approach. Don't worry about missing your stop - the airport is the end of the line. You'll know it's time to get off if for no other reason than there's no more track in front of the train.

Exit the train and then tap out with your Compass Card/ticket at the gate. You're now a short pedway walk away from your destination. This completes our trip from the Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport.

By the way...

There are Compass vending machines pretty much as soon as you get off the train. This is where you'd buy a ticket to leave the airport and head back into the city. On a side note, that eastbound ticket back costs an extra $5 because of the YVR AddFare. If you're paying with your Compass Card, the correct fare will be debited automatically.

Map from the Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport


Helpful links

These are some links that can help you plan your trip from the Sunshine Coast to the Vancouver International Airport. Fare costs can vary depending on your age; the time of day at which you're travelling; and whether it’s a weekday, weekend, or holiday.

Info about this video…

  • Sunshine Coast, BC to Vancouver International Airport - YVR

  • Most footage was shot August 12, 2017. Finished video was- uploaded January 5, 2018.

  • Most footage shot with a GoPro Hero 4 Silver mounted on a Feiyu Tech G4 gimbal but the most up-to-date GoPro camera is the GoPro HERO6 Black. The HERO6 has optical image stabilization and doesn't necessarily need a gimbal.

  • A www.BurntBoat.Media production for www.LiveOnTheSunshineCoast.ca.

  • Director/Producer/Editor/Camera: Val Labrecque

  • Assistant Producer/Editor: Paul Poulsen

  • Music: Stand Together - JP