More than ever, virtual work means a “commute” might take you from Armstrong, Britannia Beach or Comox to one of B.C.’s business hubs. Here’s a modern guide to transportation options.
By Matt O’Grady
REGIONAL: Long a favoured way of traveling from Vancouver’s harbour to downtown Victoria, the Sunshine Coast or the Islands, Harbour Air (harbourair.com) has recently reinstated more harbour-to-harbour routes: from Vancouver to Kelowna and Seattle. Servicing many of B.C.’s more remote regions, such as Masset in Haida Gwaii. Pacific Coastal (pacificcoastal.com) has also launched seamless interline transfers with WestJet. For 35 years, Smithers-based Central Mountain Air (flycma.com) has connected people across B.C. and Alberta: If you’re trying to get from Terrace to Prince George, or Quesnel to Vancouver, it’s the quickest way.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL: Calgary-based discount airline Lynx Air (flylynx.com) launched last year, and offers direct flights from YVR to Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. Porter Airlines, (flyporter.com), a boutique airline that’s long operated out of Toronto, has expanded its hallmark “luxury on a budget” service (free beer, wine and snacks; free wi-fi) to Vancouver. Through a Toronto hub, Canada Jetlines (jetlines.com) flies to Vancouver, Calgary and spots like Las Vegas. For those living closer to Abbotsford than YVR, West Jet-owned Swoop and Edmonton-based Flair (flyswoop.com, flyflair.com) make that airport an option for many destinations.
RIDE HAILING: Uber and Lyft have been operating in the Vancouver market for years, and several homegrown ride-hailing services now also serve smaller B.C. markets. Whistle (whistle.ca) serves the Sea-to-Sky corridor (from Whistler and Pemberton through to YVR) and the Tofino and Ucluelet areas. Victoria-based Lucky to Go (luckytogocanada.com) operates from Nanaimo to Prince George, Kelowna and points in between. Kabu (kabu.ca) runs in Kamloops and Kelowna (in addition to Vancouver and Victoria), with plans to expand. Under its driver and transportation umbrella, the B.C. government maintains an online list of approved ride-hailing companies.
CAR SHARING: While ride-hailing relies on somebody else driving you, car-sharing means you drive somebody else’s vehicle. Turo (turo.com/ca), available across Canada, is often billed as the Airbnb of cars: a matchmaking service that puts short-term vehicle leasers in touch with owners, with options in many far-flung B.C. locations. B.C.’s larger cities (Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna) and fleet-based car-share services like Evo, Modo and Zerocar. Some of these allow for one-way travel and others (such as Modo) compete with rental companies for multi-day trips. Increasingly, cities are even securing car-share spaces in their downtown cores.
CARPOOLING: If you’re the kind of person who needs their own hands on the wheel, but would like to make some cash (and new acquaintances) on the way, the Poparide app (poparide.com) is for you. Post a trip with start and end points, which anyone needing a lift can search for a match, with payment through the app.
If your regional carpool program is registered and recognized with TransLink, you can take advantage of Park & Ride Carpool programs at transit hubs where carpool vehicles containing at least two people can access priority spaces to park in the lots. –Catherine Dunwoody, Right Sizing Spring 2020.
In Northern B.C., BC Bus North (bcbus.ca) offers service between Prince Rupert, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Valemount and points in between. On the Island, the VI Connector (viconnector.com) bus is a popular seasonal (now only in summer) way of getting around. IslandLink (islandlinkbus.com) offers van service between Nanaimo and Tofino, also serving Port Alberni and Ucluelet. The Sunshine Coast Connector (sunshinecoastconnector.ca) has daily service from Langdale Ferry to Powell River and points in between. In the Okanagan, Ebus (myebus.ca) has daily Kamlopps-Salmon Arm-Kelowna routes with service to communities such as Chase, Sorrento and Enderby. BC Transit connects the South Okanagan (for instance, between Kelowna and Penticton), using both a fixed schedule and on-demand stop requests (bctransit.com).