The message from the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) has been very consistent — do not plan to drive in the city during the 2010 Games, use transit. For most Hope Region residents this will be a very different way of viewing a visit to Metro-Vancouver so here are a variety of options to consider.
Greyhound – The Hope depot is located within the Midtown Plaza Laundromat at 1-800 Third Avenue (604-869-5522). Their schedule offers 5 departures from Hope daily ; with the earliest leaving Hope at 9:10AM and the latest leaving at 6:10PM. Return trips to Hope from Vancouver are offered 6 times daily from the first bus at 6:15AM to the last bus at 6:00PM. It is a comfortable motor coach trip of approximately 3 hours each way and the Vancouver depot is co-located with Via Rail in the Vancouver Railway Station. This means you will have easy access to Skytrain and are only a short walk from Sochi House -The Russian Pavilion (which has taken over Scienceworld for the duration of the 2010 Games). The return fare for an adult is just over $60. For details check out www.greyhound.ca
WestCoast Express – This involves a vehicle trip to Mission to access the regular commuter rail service between Mission and the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. If you have never “ridden the rails” from Mission to the city before, this will be a great time to try it as they will offer an expanded operating schedule during February 2010 with lots of options for departure and arrival times. A return fare for adults is $21 and the parking lot at the Mission City Station (33200 North Railway Avenue) has 254 parking stalls. For details check www.westcoastexpress.com
Skytrain – This involves a vehicle trip to one of three Surrey Skytrain stations (King George, Surrey Central or Scott Road) and then boarding the light rapid transit system. During the 2010 Games period there is Skytrain service from the Surrey stations starting daily at 5AM and the last trips back at night leave from the Waterfront Station at 1:30AM. For details see www.travelsmart2010.ca
VIA Rail – This travel option allows you to leave directly from Hope as the train will pick you up from along the CN railway tracks where they intersect with Hudson Bay Street (approx where the old railway station used to stand). Not so practical is the operating schedule since trains only travel west from here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and the departure time is at 5:43AM. Plus you must reserve your ticket a minimum of 48 hours in advance as Hope is a “Flag Stop” for the train; meaning they will only plan on stopping in Hope if they have this advance notice of a passenger wishing to embark here. After a 4 hour rail journey you will arrive at the Vancouver Railway Station (same location as the Vancouver Greyhound depot – see above). Returning from Vancouver to Hope means riding east on the CPR Railway tracks so you will be coming back to “Katz” instead; this is a rail stop along Hwy #7 west of Hope opposite to the Chawathil Reserve. Be sure to make advance arrangements for someone to pick you up here because the train leaves Vancouver at 8:30PM and deposits you at Katz just before 11PM. This return trip to our region is only offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays so remember that this travel option will involve an overnight stay in the city. For details see www.viarail.ca
For information on any of these travel options contact the staff at the Hope Visitor Centre at 919 Water Avenue – open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily during February 2010. Phone number – 604-869-2021.