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Accessing Public Transit

Open fare gates at a SkyTrain station entrance

Navigating public transit with accessibility needs is easier when you know what to expect. We have a number of programs to ensure our transit system remains as accessible as possible for everyone.

For more information, read the contents on this page or download the Accessible Transit in Metro Vancouver guide .

On this page

    Travelling with an Attendant

    If you travel with an attendant, please ensure you have your HandyCard with you. Your HandyCard provides free travel for your attendant. This applies to both Compass Card users and people who use traditional fare media. HandyCard users must show their HandyCard to bus operators when boarding.

    HandyCard is for travel on conventional transit and can't be used on HandyDART. If your trip includes HandyDART, you'll pay regular adult fare rates.

    If you have a permanent physical, sensory, or cognitive disability and require assistance to use the conventional public transit system, HandyCard and TaxiSaver coupons can help keep you connected.

    Eligible customers can apply to receive a HandyCard, which provides travel on our conventional system at concession fare prices, free travel for your attendant, and access to purchase TaxiSavers.

    Sometimes HandyDART will use taxis as a supplemental service. Taxi drivers are expected to provide the same door-to-door service as HandyDART drivers. If a taxi is sent instead of HandyDART vehicle, your automated notification will include this information. Please pay the taxi driver the same fare you would pay if the trip was being delivered in a HandyDART vehicle.

    As of October 1, 2021, you can also present your Compass Card to the driver and they will note the last 4 digits of your card. The cost of the trip will be deducted from your Compass Card the next day when you tap your Compass Card on a card reader (on HandyDART, bus, fare gate, or Compass Vending Machine).

    If you have a permanent disability that prevents you from safely accessing public transit, learn about our paratransit system, HandyDART.

    TaxiSavers are discounted (half-price) coupons that are available to purchase and use by HandyCard members. For $25.00, customers can purchase one book of TaxiSavers with $50.00 worth of coupons. As per the Transit Tariff, each member is allowed a maximum of 2 books per month.

    Each book contains:

    • Seven $1.00 coupons

    • Nine $2.00 coupons

    • Five $5.00 coupons

    We accept TaxiSaver orders by cheques or money orders. Customers can pre-order for up to 12 months with post-dated cheques for each month. Paying for multiple months with one lump sum cheque is possible, but the payment is processed with the first TaxiSaver order sent. Remaining orders will be sent the following months.

    Customers can send in their orders and enclose a cheque(s)/money order(s), and self-addressed envelope(s) (postage not required). If you have any questions, please call Access Transit Customer Care at 604.953.3680.

    If a customer would like to purchase TaxiSavers in person, we can direct them to the TransLink Customer Service Centre (Walk-in Centre) at Waterfront Station (to the right of the Starbucks). The customer (or representative) MUST present their ORIGINAL HandyCard. Cash, debit, or credit will be accepted. It is best to arrive no later than half an hour before closing (5:30 PM).

    TransLink Customer Service Centre
    Waterfront Station
    54 - 601 W Cordova St
    Vancouver BC V6B 1G1

    Operating Hours
    Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    Closed on Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holidays.

    Guide and Service Dogs

    Guide or service dogs, including dogs that are certified under the British Columbia Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, are welcome to travel on public transit with their handlers or trainers. While riding on any of TransLink’s services, the dog must be held by a harness or leash and must display the expected behaviour standards of a guide or service dog.

    If the dog is not trained to perform specific tasks to assist a person with a disability and does not meet these standards you will be asked to comply with TransLink's Pet Policy

    Accessible Payment Options

    If you travel with an attendant, your attendant can tap on your behalf. Please note that you and your attendant will need to closely follow each other through the fare gates.

    Most SkyTrain stations have SkyTrain Attendants available to help you tap your fare media at a fare gate. For more information, review our SkyTrain Accessibility section.

    If you frequently travel using the SkyTrain and/or SeaBus, eligible customers can receive a radio-frequency identification (RFID) enabled card that automatically opens accessible fare gates as you approach. We offer this program for individuals who travel independently and cannot tap at Compass fare gates without assistance.

    To learn more about what assistance is available to you, or to enroll in the Universal Fare Gate Access Program, contact us:

    T: 604.953.3698

    Hours of operation are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Transit Service Alerts

    Stay up-to-date on any changes to our regular transit service with our TransLink Transit Alerts (e.g., weather delays, out-of-service elevators in SkyTrain stations).

    To stay in the know on the go, subscribe to TransLink SMS/Email Alerts. Register to receive real-time updates sent to your phone when service changes occur on a transit route you frequently use.

    Accessing Transit by Transit Type

    Learn more about size restrictions on mobility aids, how to safely enter each type of transit, and the assistance available to you.

    Mobility Aid Guidelines

    To board the bus with your wheelchair or mobility aid, your dimensions should not exceed the following:

    • Length: 122 cm (48 in.)

    • Width: 61 cm (24 in.)

    • Weight: 273 kg (600 lbs.)*

    These dimensions include all add-ons such as bumpers, wheel bars, and baskets. Some four-wheel scooters that are within the required dimensions have a turning radius that is too wide for our conventional bus fleet.

    * This combined weight includes the transit rider and mobility aid.

    Boarding the Bus

    • You can enter facing forwards or backwards.

    • Ensure you have the ability to maneuver your mobility aid safely and effectively. You may have to make a U-turn once you enter the bus.

    • Mobility aids must be safe, in good repair, and include an effective braking system.

    • An attendant must accompany you if you will require assistance to enter or exit the bus. Once on the bus, bus operators may assist wheelchair customers with wheelchair securement.

    While we hope to soon make every bus stop along our routes accessible, at this time some stops are not properly set up for safe entering and exiting with a mobility aid. To find the nearest accessible bus stop to your starting point or destination, we encourage you to use the Trip Planner tool or call Customer Information (604.953.3333).

    Bus Stop Accessibility for Customers with Sight Loss

    All bus stops across the TransLink system are equipped with signs in braille and tactile lettering. The signs include the following information:

    • Bus stop ID and bay number if applicable

    • Bus routes serving the stop

    • Customer Information phone number

    In addition to braille and tactile signage, tactile walking surface indicators are installed at all bus stops on TransLink owned property. This includes most SkyTrain stations and bus exchanges. These tactile indicators, consisting of raised elongated bars, are mounted on the ground in order to be felt underfoot and provide wayfinding to the bus ID pole, as well as the front door of the bus when it pulls up.

    Real-time text-to-audio bus information can be found at RapidBus stops across the region, as well as at UBC Exchange. The button to activate this feature is located on the bus stop information panel and is marked with the word “info” in both braille and raised lettering.

    BC Bus Pass Program

    To ensure everyone has access to public transit, the BC Government offers bus passes to low-income seniors and to Persons with Disabilities at a reduced cost as part of their disability assistance program.

    If you're from BC and qualify for additional assistance from the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, you may be eligible for a discounted yearly BC Bus Pass.

    Learn more about the BC Bus Pass Program.

    Entering the SkyTrain Station

    • All of our stations are equipped with elevators for people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

    • If you require an elevator for your travel, we recommend checking TransLink Alerts or call Customer Information (604.953.3333) before you make your trip to make sure the elevator you need isn’t undergoing maintenance and repairs.

    • Please do not use wheelchairs or scooters on escalators, under any circumstances.

    • Your mobility aid will need to fit through our fare gates. The standard gates are 62 cm (24 in.) wide and the accessible gates are 107 cm (42 in.) wide.

    Station Assistance

    For customers needing assistance at a station, our SkyTrain or Canada Line Attendants offer:

    • Sighted guide inside our stations

    • Assistance tapping fare media at the fare gates

    For help on the Expo and Millennium Lines, please call 604.520.5518 on the day of your trip, at least 10 minutes before arriving at a station, to ensure there is an attendant available to assist you.

    For help on the Canada Line, please call 604.247.5703 to request assistance, directions, or to use the accessible washroom (which we keep locked for security reasons).

    Boarding the SkyTrain

    • Doors with a wheelchair symbol on the exterior mark where to enter a SkyTrain with a mobility aids.

    • Once inside, there will be wheelchair space provided.

    • Some cars have a flip-up seat near the wheelchair space that can be raised to accommodate mobility aid.

    Entering the SeaBus Terminal

    • At Waterfront Station, there’s an elevator located at the north end of the skywalk to access the SeaBus terminal.

    • Terminals are equipped with double-wide doors (3.65 m), which provide plenty of room for mobility aids of all sizes.

    • All SeaBus terminals have graduated ramps to allow you to board the SeaBus.

    Station Assistance

    SeaBus attendants are available at our terminals and on ferries to assist you. If you need special assistance — for help traversing the terminal ramps or entering/exiting the SeaBus — please travel with a personal attendant.

    Boarding the SeaBus

    • As you start to board the SeaBus, proceed cautiously. As the tide changes, the ramp grade leading up to the SeaBus will change, as well.

    • Once on board, position your mobility aid in one of the following spots:

      • inside the doors to either side,

      • in an aisle, or

      • in front of a vacant seat.

    • Don't forget to lock your brakes.

    West Coast Express Accessibility

    West Coast Express (WCE) commuter rail service between Mission and Vancouver is fully accessible to people with wheelchairs or other mobility aids.

    Boarding the WCE

    • A maximum of two mobility aids are allowed per train car.

    • Board the train from the special raised section of the platform — here, the conductor can help you safely enter the train car.

    • Once on board, position your mobility aid in one of the two wheelchair spaces.

    • You’ll find an accessible washroom in most train cars.

    Station Assistance

    For customers needing assistance on WCE, Station Attendants are on site to assist customers who need it. 

    For details, or for accessibility information about a specific station, please contact WCE Customer Service. If you think you might require assistance please call 604.488.8906 prior to your trip.

    Mobility Aid Restrictions

    Our community shuttles can fit a maximum of two mobility aids with the following dimension and weight restrictions:

    • Length: 122 cm (48 in.)

    • Width: 61 cm (24 in.)

    • Weight: 363 kg (800 lbs.)*

    These dimensions include all add-ons such as bumpers, wheel bars, and baskets. Some four-wheel scooters that are within the required dimensions have a turning radius that is too wide for our community shuttles.

    * This combined weight includes the transit rider and mobility aid.

    Boarding the Community Shuttle

    Conventional Shuttles

    • Look for the lift, located near the rear of the bus on the same side as the sidewalk.

    • Enter the lift backwards, with your body facing towards the sidewalk.

    • Once the lift brings you into the shuttle, please move into the accessible seating area facing the front of the bus and lock your brakes.

    • The operator will attach securement belts to prevent your device from moving during travel. These securements must be in place before the shuttle starts moving.

    Low-Floor Community Shuttles

    • Enter using the front door ramp facing either forwards or backwards.

    • Once the lift brings you into the shuttle, please move into the accessible seating area facing the front of the bus and lock your brakes.

    • The operator will attach securement belts to prevent your device from moving during travel. These securements must be in place before the shuttle starts moving.

    Travel Training

    In partnership with community groups throughout the region, TransLink provides large group informational workshops for seniors and people with disabilities to assist with independent travel. Learn more about travel training on our Access Transit page.

    Assistance with Safety Concerns

    Anyone who has a concern for their safety, or the safety of someone else, is encouraged to contact the Metro Vancouver Transit Police directly by phone at 604.515.8300 or by text at 87.77.77

    Always call 911 in an emergency.

    Please note that the texting service at 87.77.77 is designated for individuals using Canadian phone numbers (standard carrier text messaging rates may apply). Any communication from non-Canadian numbers will not be received or processed. Call 604.515.8300 if you’re using an international phone number.

    Help Us Improve

    If you have suggestions for how we can make our transit system more accessible, please reach out. Together, let’s help make Metro Vancouver’s public transportation system accessible for everyone.