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Vancouver is the metropole city of British Columbia and the third biggest city in Canada.

It is illegal to hitchhike Westwards of Golden, BC. Thumbers are issued a fine and drivers are issued a bigger fine. Hitchhiking is not illegal along the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Hwy99 - Vancouver to Whistler). Where it is illegal or cannot be conducted in a safe manner, signs are clearly posted that indicated that picking up hitchhikers is prohibited. (From a September 14th, 2006 letter from Kevin Falcon - BC Transportation Minister reference: #149730).

Hitchhikers frequently pass through the city of Vancouver when going to or from Vancouver Island. The ferry to and from Victoria docks at Tswassen, southwest of the city, and the ferry to and from Nanaimo docks at Horseshoe Bay, northwest of the city. When arriving in the city en-route to the island, it's easy to take a local bus to one of the ferries if you're not able to get a ride straight there. But arriving on the mainland and heading farther east by thumb can be a bit more difficult. If possible, you should try to find a ride from someone while on the ferry boat. Talk with people and/or carry a sign. If you're heading towards Nelson, the Okanagan valley, or the Rockies, try to find a ride with someone going at least as far as Hope.

To leave the city heading east, the best option is to take the Sky-Train to Surrey and then get on a local bus that will take you to Langley - along the main highway 1. From there you can get a ride further east towards Hope.

Hitchhiking In

If you are on your way into Vancouver, try your very best not to get dropped off in Langley, because it is pretty difficult to get anywhere from there - it has little public transit, is very spread out, and people there are generally unwilling to pick up hitchhikers. It is worth to turn down rides going to Langley and wait for a lift that will get you into the city itself or at least to Surrey, from where you can get a bus to your destination.

Hitchhiking Out

To Hope and beyond

Most populated cities it may be harder to find rides, especially around the Greater Vancouver Area & inward toward the west coast. In order to hitchhike out of Vancouver first take Skytrain to Gateway Station in Surrey. From a bus stop across the street, a bus will take you fairly close to a certain highway on-ramp on the Trans Canada. Bus drivers will be able to give more specific information.

To go North

If you want to go North out of Vancouver catch the #257 Express to Horseshoe Bay (2 minute walk from the Granville Street Skytrain Station). The ride takes 20 minutes or more. Ask the bus driver to let you off at the bridge (also ring for a stop as soon as you notice the bus taking a left off the old highway - sometimes the drivers forget to stop there). A new highway has been built and you have to hike up to it (approximately 10 minutes). Walk back towards to the old highway from the bridge and cross to the far side. Turn Right and begin walking up the highway. After a few minutes you will see a large hiking trail with a gate to your left. Go through the gate and walk to the top. You will see the new highway above you. Climb up the grassy bank and safely cross the 4 line highway (there are dividers and space in the center so this is pretty easy). There is a large pull over area perfect for hitchhiking!

Border Crossing to Washington

It is strongly reccommended that you go to the border and clear customs by yourself before trying to hitch a ride, because asking drivers to take you across poses a much higher risk for them. It is not hard to get there by public transport. From the skytrain station Bridgeport, take bus number 351 to White Rock Centre (the bus route goes along the Vancouver-Blaine Hwy, so if you really hate walking, you can get off at Mathew Exchange or South Surrey Park & Ride and try to hitch a ride to the border). From White Rock, take bus C51 to Marine Dr/Stevens St. Cross the street and turn left. You will see a wooden walking bridge on your right side. Cross it, ignoring the No Trespassing sign (it existis because you are entering an Indian Reservation, but the people there are generally not at all fussed about it). Turn left when you get to the paved road, and simply keep going (when in doubt, the sea should be on your right side). The road will lead you straight to the border. After you've gone through, there is a little roundabout right next to the toll station where you can easily hitch a ride South.

Public Transport in Vancouver

Vancouver has a few SkyTrain lines and one of the biggest trolley bus networks.

Ticket controls are rare on the SkyTrains, except for the Canada Line that goes to the airport and has more money for operation.

On trolley buses, it is sometimes possible to sneak in through the back door (especially for buses to UBC) but you should respect the drivers. They are often willing to give you a ride even if you don't have change with you or just explain that you're broke.

See also

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