Due to Canada’s large size, people often travel between major cities by airplane. All main cities have airports with regularly scheduled flights to and from many places. If you are travelling to a place that does not have a main airport (for example, a town or rural area), then you will need to fly to the nearest main airport and either rent a car or take a bus to your final stop. To fly in Canada, you need a piece of photo identification issued by the federal, provincial or territorial government in Canada, or a foreign passport.
Canada’s rail network runs across the country, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the east to Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in the west. Trains in Canada are safe and comfortable. It is often cheaper to buy train tickets in advance.
You can get more information and buy tickets from Via Rail Canada or going to a train station in person.
Catching a bus can be the cheapest way of travelling between cities. It is often the only way of getting to smaller towns if you are not driving a car. Remember that bus travel can be very long due to the great distances involved. Most buses have air conditioning and a washroom on board. The largest network of bus routes is run by a company called Greyhound and its affiliates. You can get more information and buy bus tickets by calling or visiting your local bus station.
In coastal areas of Canada such as British Columbia and the Atlantic region, ferry boats are a common way to travel. Many ferries transport both passengers and vehicles.
You can get more information and buy tickets from ferry companies that operate routes in your area.
Canada has a large network of highways, making long distance travel by car possible between most destinations. For more information on cars and driving, see “Driving in Canada.”
Public transportation in Canada (public transit)
All cities and most major towns in Canada have a public transportation system with one or more ways to travel (bus, subway, train, etc.). If you plan to use public transportation, you should research transportation options before deciding where you will live.
The bus is the most common form of urban transportation in Canada. Some cities also have streetcars (trams), light-rail trains or subways. In most cases, you can easily transfer from one mode of transportation to another.
To use public transportation, you must purchase a ticket or a transit pass. Transit passes allow you unlimited use of public transportation for a specific period (one month or more). They are usually cheaper than buying many tickets if you plan to use public transportation often.
You can get more information about public transportation in your city or town by:
- visiting an information kiosk at a main transit station;
- calling a transit information line; or
- visiting the website of your municipal government.
In most cities, you can buy tickets at major transit stations, convenience stores or from the bus driver (you will need to give the exact amount).
Transportation for people with physical disabilities
Public transportation often has features to help people with physical disabilities. In many cities and towns, there are services specifically for people with limited mobility. You can find out about these services in the same way you would learn more about other public transportation options.
All cities and towns have one or more companies that offer taxi service. Taxis have meters that use set rates to calculate the cost of your trip. The rates are fixed and cannot be negotiated. You pay the amount shown on the meter at the end of your trip. If you want to know how much your trip will cost, ask the driver before the trip starts. Many drivers will also hope for a tip, especially if they help you with lots of bags. Taxis are quite expensive, so most people only use them when they do not have another option. Taxi drivers have an official identification card to show that they are licensed by the city. You can find the card on the dashboard of the taxi.
There are two ways of catching a taxi:
- Call for a taxi to pick you up. You can find the telephone numbers of taxi companies on the Internet or by contacting the transportation department of your municipal government. When you call for a taxi, the operator will ask you to give the pick-up address, your name and the destination address.
- Catch a taxi at a taxi stand or “hail” a taxi on the street by standing on the sidewalk and waving your hand at an empty taxi driving past.
Walking and cycling
Walking and cycling are healthy and cheap ways of getting around Canadian cities and towns. You can generally get a map of bicycle networks from local bike shops or from the municipal government (at information kiosks or online).
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