Vancouver Airport Train

By Ben Lam, May 3, 2016

Vancouver (YVR) Airport train to downtown Vancouver (see Vancouver Train map)

Quick Facts

First train YVR to city 5:07am – departs from YVR Vancouver Airport Train station to downtown Vancouver

Last train YVR to city 12:56am (56 minutes past midnight)

Ticket Price YVR to city $6.75 to $9 depending on time of day and age of traveler (see discounts).

Frequency every 6-7 minutes 5:07am until 6:30pm, every 12 minutes weekday evenings & early Saturday/Sunday mornings, and up to every 20 minutes around midnight.

YVR Airport Train Station Sign

Where to buy Vancouver Airport Train tickets?

At the train platform using automated ticket vending machines. Each adult ticket to downtown Vancouver (2-zones) bought between first train (5:07am) and 6:30pm, Monday to Friday, costs $9 one-way.  After 6:30pm, off-peak fares apply and an adult Vancouver downtown train ticket will cost $7.75.  Off-peak fares also apply on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Children 5-13 (inclusive) and seniors (65 years and older) pay a train fare of $7.75 during regular fare hours and $6.75 during off-peak hours. Children 4 years of age and younger can ride the Vancouver trains and buses for free (when accompanied by an adult).  Prices valid as of January, 2015.


SkyTrain Ticket Validator

Where is the YVR Airport train station?

See below for a step-by-step photo guide of how to get to the Vancouver Airport Train station.  There is only one train station at Vancouver Airport for both International & Domestic flights arriving at YVR/Vancouver (Domestic = flights flying only within Canada) . Flights arriving from the US will have passengers exit into the International terminal.

After your plane lands at YVR Airport, you’ll be directed to customs & immigration for passport checks. After you collect your checked baggage from carousels and proceed to a final Customs & Immigration check a border agent will collect your entry card (filled out during your flight) and either direct you for secondary baggage inspection (rarely) or towards the International arrivals lounge.

Below is a photo of International Arrivals at Vancouver Airport after exiting baggage collection / Customs & Immigration: (click for larger version)

YVR Vancouver Airport International Arrivals Lounge

International Arrivals at Vancouver Airport

At the end of the walkway a green overhead sign will read “Ground Transportation“. Follow the arrow to Ground Transportation, even though there is no symbol for trains.

Vancouver Airport Ground Transport Sign

The door leading to the exit of this International Arrivals lounge will again show Ground Transportation with no train symbols, but follow these signs. Continue past the doors to the taxi & car pick-up area of the International Arrivals Terminal.

Vancouver Airport International Terminal Door Sign

This photo is just outside of the YVR International Terminal, with a cross-walk leading towards the airport parking garage, but also to the Vancouver Airport Train station, which is joined to the parking garage. Walk straight ahead and you’ll see more green signs.

YVR Airport International arrivals exit

After crossing the first road you’ll see the tall green sign which finally shows a train called “Canada Line”. This is the YVR Airport train towards downtown Vancouver. Keep walking ahead towards the escalators (to the right of the path you’re walking) and elevators (on the left). If you’re using one of the free baggage carts for your luggage, take the elevators to the top level (3).

YVR Airport International Arrivals Train station sign

At the top level (two flights of escalators or at elevator level 3) you’ll arrive at the Airport Train platform level. If taking the escalators (visible on left edge of photo), turn around 180º and the Airport Train ticketing hall will be located in front of you. If you’re taking the elevator, turn right once you exit the elevators, just as the gentleman in this photo is doing. Park your baggage carts in this area if using them as you will be blocked from bringing them onto the train platform.

YVR Airport Train escalator elevator at train platform

The ticketing hall and train platform entrance should be in front of you now.

The ticketing machines on the right are confusingly mixed with two other types of machines. The train ticketing machines are large rectangular boxes with multi-colored map on the top panel and blue front. The tall curved YVR-marked machines are for checking into flights departing Vancouver Airport. The small squat machines are for people holding pre-purchased “Fare-Saver” tickets (no longer for sale) requiring only validation before taking the train.

Airport train station ticketing area

Here’s a close-up photo of the Vancouver Airport train ticket machine. Payment methods accepted include Canadian coins, Canadian cash notes ($5, $10, $20), Interac-network bank debit cards, and Visa/Mastercard credit cards protected with PIN numbers.

Vancouver Airport Train ticket vending machine

The Vancouver Airport train ticket vending machine has a touch screen interface. Your main decision will be how many zones of travel to buy. If you’re traveling into downtown or anywhere in Vancouver (i.e. beyond Richmond, where Vancouver Airport is located) then purchase a 2-zone ticket, costing $9 per adult, $7.75 per child/senior (5-13 / 65+). (See “discount” section below.)

Train tickets will print and drop to the bottom tray. These credit card size paper tickets have a magnetic strip on one side. The ticket is good to use immediately. No need to validate the ticket before use. It’s stamped (validated) with the current time during the purchase process. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes of travel, in any direction (even backwards), on any Skytrain trains and Vancouver public city buses.

Turn around and pass through the metal poles and fare gates onto the train platform.

Vancouver Airport Train station platform gates

Located above overhead are signs indicating when the next train will arrive/depart from Vancouver Airport towards downtown Vancouver, which is marked as “Waterfront”. Waterfront is the terminus (last) station along the train line for trains leaving from YVR Airport, known locally as the “Canada Line“.

Vancouver Airport Train Next Train Sign

There will be three stops in Vancouver city center / downtown (see Vancouver Train system map). The first stop will be at Yaletown Roundhouse station, near the southern tip of downtown. Second stop is at Vancouver City Centre, the heart of downtown. Last stop is Waterfront, on the northern edge of downtown very close to the Vancouver Convention Center (Canada Place), Vancouver cruise ship terminal, Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (Harbour Air seaplane terminal) and Coal Harbour residential neighbourhood.  Waterfront Skytrain station is also where the Seabus to North Vancouver is located, as well as VIA Rail trains to Seattle and West Coast Express trains heading east into the suburbs of Vancouver (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, etc.).

The Vancouver airport train will take roughly 22 minutes to arrive at Yaletown Roundhouse station, 25 minutes for Vancouver City Centre and 27 minutes from YVR Airport to Waterfront station, the terminus station.

Yaletown-Roundhouse station has both elevators and escalators to street level, where you can catch taxis and also a city bus along Davie St, heading further north deeper into downtown.

Vancouver City Centre and Waterfront stations both have elevator access to street level. Waterfront station connects with the SeaBus terminal with ferries to North Vancouver, Lonsdale Quay station with bus connections available.

Here’s a panoramic photo of YVR Skytrain station:

YVR Skytrain Station thumbnail

Discount Vancouver Airport Train Tickets

Currently it’s possible to pay only $3.15 per SkyTrain trip from YVR to downtown using FareSaver tickets (during peak fare period before 6:30pm) but this discount will disappear soon (after January 2016). FareSaver tickets (only sold in books of 10) are pre-paid tickets valid for future travel for the number of zones you’ve chosen (1, 2 or 3 zones). Each book of ten tickets costs $21, $31.50, $42 for the 1-zone, 2-zone, 3-zone FareSaver tickets, respectively. Each ticket in the 2-zone FareSaver booklet is valid for travel from YVR Airport Train station to any SkyTrain station in Vancouver and Vancouver Downtown. This makes the cost per trip $3.15. Translink (the transit authority for SkyTrain) has decided that FareSaver tickets are not subject to the Airport AddFare surcharge of $5 per trip. See “Exemptions” on this page for Canada Line YVR AddFare.

While quantities last, you can purchase FareSaver 10 ticket booklets from 7-Eleven (open 24 hours/day) and Pharmasave (open from 8am to 6pm, M-F) at Vancouver Airport before leaving by train. Both shops are located in the domestic (Canada) arrivals area (level 1) of Vancouver Airport.

To use a FareSaver ticket for travel it must be validated using the validation machines located next to the ticket purchase machines. Inserting a FareSaver ticket into a validation machine (magnetic stripe facing up, left-hand side) stamps a date & time on the fare marking that it is valid for travel for the next 90 minutes.

5 Comments

  1. Keith says:

    This is so refreshing to read and helpful too. We tried to use the train two years ago when we first visited and found to too confusing so we got a cab!

    Hopefully next week when we arrive these notes will help us achieve the journey we want to on the Canada Line.

    Thanks for the advice.

  2. charles Gordon says:

    Excellent explication. I am arriving to take a cruise and your information
    and price are supper.

    Charlie

  3. Mel says:

    Fantastic step by step with pictures. Thank you.

  4. judithcadams says:

    Excellent advice, I will be travelling via Skytrain after a long flight and this is a great (almost virtual) summary of what to expect

  5. May Allen says:

    Excellent information backed up by very helpful photos. We will be travelling from the U.K. and will disembark at WATERFRONT hoping that that will be near to The Harbour Air location.

    Thank you!

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