Seabus Sprint

Photo: Flickr, Ted McGrath

On your mark, get set, GO! Riding the Seabus from Vancouver’s historic Waterfront Station across the Burrard Inlet to the bustling Lonsdale Quay is an experience unto itself. Granted, I am not a regular traveller to the North Shore consequently, my ocean travels via Seabus are predominately for pleasure versus the daily grind of a long work commute. For regular commuters, the crossing may have lost its’ charm, but for me, each voyage is a treat, a twelve-minute long ocean cruise so to speak. Most often, I am embarking on a hike, cycle or a simple visit to the Lonsdale Quay Market in search of treats and good eats and Seabus is my preferred mode of transportation to reach the North Shore.

Photo: Flickr, James Wheeler

Linking buses and Sky Trains to our waterfront, the passenger only Seabuses have evolved to become the workhorses of our transportation system. Carrying up to four hundred passengers per sailing they valiantly chug across the bustling inlet, safely delivering their precious cargo every fifteen minutes. Of course, the views of Stanley Park, the Sails at Canada Place and the spectacular North Shore mountains are unrivalled and well worth the fare. In addition to savouring the scenery, one of my favourite pastimes while travelling by Seabus is people watching. I guarantee that you will discover a fascinating cast of characters on each and every sailing.

Photo: Rob Weiss

Over time, I have noticed a particular pattern of behaviour, which I affectionately labelled the “Seabus Sprint.” Without fail, it tickles my fancy and causes me to pause. What is the “Seabus Sprint” you ask? Look closely, and near the entrance to the vessel loading areas, you will notice a countdown clock. Sailing times are meticulously tracked, and the prominent timer warns passengers about upcoming departures. Without fail, as the clock approaches the two-minute mark, the pace of foot traffic increases, and as if on a silent cue, at two minutes sharp, you will notice locals break out in a full-fledged sprint. Yes, the two-minute warning brings out the inner athlete in Vancouverites. Breathless, and dare I say a little frazzled, seasoned commuters cross the imaginary finish line, having arrived at the boarding area in the nick of time. Without fail, the loading doors open and the masses shuffle on to the boat. Within seconds, seats fill, and another crossing begins. Land Ho!

Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There:

There are two Seabus Terminals located at Waterfront in Downtown Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. From Waterfront stations, passengers can seamlessly connect to buses, Sky Train and the West Coast Express.

For current Seabus Schedules visit the Translink website.

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