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Later this year I'm going to be at a conference in Vancouver, and potentially I'll need to make a quick getaway to the airport on a Friday night once it finishes.

I've had a look on the TransLink Trip Planner, and it suggests that I take a bus to the nearest SkyTrain stop on the Canada Line, and then take that to the airport. In theory it should be about 40 minutes from the hotel to the airport. This would seem to be the best way to do the trip, quick and much cheaper than a taxi.

What I'm slightly worried about is that on a Friday night, the bus along West Georgia Street (from the hotel to the SkyTrain) may be late/full/etc, or there may be problems with the SkyTrain itself. Should I generally be fine trusting the trip planner timings, I do I need to allow longer for a Friday night?

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How far is your hotel from any Skylink station, and how far to a Skylink station with a direct train to the airport? If it would be feasible for you to walk, that might be the quickest way, since you won't be dependent on the bus schedule or traffic. –  jetset May 30 at 4:28

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It depends on how certain you want to be ;) However, you have more than just the Skytrain option, according to Wikitravel:

There are a number of ways to get into town from the airport. Prices and directions below are for getting into downtown Vancouver.

  • SkyTrain - The Canada Line [5] provides the only direct rapid transit public service downtown, in 25 minutes. The fare from YVR to Vancouver is currently $8.75, which includes the two-zone base fare of $3.75 plus a $5 surcharge (the "YVR AddFare") incurred on cash fare tickets purchased from vending machines at the airport. The $5 surcharge only applies on trips starting at the airport, not on trips going to the airport. It does not apply to prepaid tickets including DayPasses, FareSavers, FareCards and transit passes. To legally bypass the AddFare and save $5, simply buy a FareSaver ticket or day pass at the PharmaSave or 7-Eleven located within the airport.

  • Taxi - Taxis line up just outside the baggage claim areas. A taxi ride into town will cost about $25-30 and should take under half an hour. All taxis that serve the airport are required to accept credit cards.

  • (hehe) Limousines - Limojet Gold offers comfortable sedan and limousine options for getting into town. Rides into the city centre cost $40-55 depending on where you are going and whether you are in a sedan or limo.

I'm of course assuming you really want to take the sensible option of the Skytrain, and merely want to know how much time to leave. Your best bet is probably to just keep an eye on twitter/the alerts page and see how things are going with a couple of hours beforehand.

Personally I'd assume it's going to be ok, panic a few hours before, and have a back-up plan with taxi numbers at hand - but odds are it'll work out in the end. Just be sure to have that back-up if for no other reason than to give yourself peace of mind. And please don't actually take the Limo ;)

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One slight thing - I want to go from town to the airport rather than the other way around! Looks a great answer apart from that though :) –  Gagravarr Aug 23 '11 at 22:55
    
Sure but I'd assume you just reverse the instructions and they'd work just fine ;) –  Mark Mayo Aug 24 '11 at 15:03
    
Heh, having now lived in Vancouver (And seen you there), I'd definitely still back the SkyTrain option, although it's cheaper from town to the Airport than the reverse. –  Mark Mayo May 30 at 0:46

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