Big Bus was a company that provided sightseeing tours around Vancouver. Today it operates as Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing as part of Westcoast Sightseeing.
The name has changed, but it still does the same thing.
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Vancouver Sightseeing Bus Tours
Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing buses travel around Vancouver, stopping at points of interest. Tourist passengers are able to “hop on” and “hop off” when they like, visit an attraction, and then hop back on the bus when it comes around again and takes them to the next destination.
Tickets are good for 24 hours and start at $65 for adults and $33 for children (ages 3-12). There used to be special rates for seniors, students and families too, but that has not been the case for a few years.
Types of Tours
As of April, 2023, the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus company is offering two types of tours for the upcoming 2023 season (which begins in April). In years past there have been three different kinds of tour passes – the Park, City and Dual Route passes.
(Note: Rates and other details listed below are subject to change.)
Classic Route Pass
The Classic Pass costs $65 for adults and $33 for children. It begins at Canada Place and ends in Gastown, looping back around to the Waterfront area. This route hits all the biggest stops in and around downtown as well as places like Stanley Park, Granville Island and Queen Elizabeth Park.
The 2023 season begins April 1st and ends October 30th. At least in the beginning, the schedule is for the buses to start running at 8:45 am and go every two hours. The entire loop takes around that amount of time.
Park Route Pass
The Park Route Tour costs $59 for adults and $30 for children. It takes passengers through downtown Vancouver as well as to Stanley Park, Granville Island and Vanier Park.
The buses run every 20 minutes or so from May until September and half that frequently between October and April. The entire loop takes about two hours and passengers can ride all day and come and go as they like.
In addition to approximately 20 stops around town, the Park Route tour includes a one-way boat ride to Granville Island with False Creek Ferries.
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City Route Pass
City Route Passes cost $39 for adults and $20 for children. With this tour the bus does an 80-minute loop involving over a dozen stops in downtown Vancouver, Yaletown and Gastown.
The City Route tours goes by each stop about three times an hour during the summer season (from May to September) and once every 40 minutes in the slower season.
For more details about this company and others, see our article about Vancouver Sightseeing Tours.
Dual Route Pass
When they used to run, the Dual Route bus tours cost $54 for adults and half price for children (ages 3-12). They included all the stops and destinations included in both the Park and City Route passes. The Dual Route Pass is not currently set to run in 2023.
How the Hop-On Bus Works
Tickets are valid for 24 hours and the timing starts as soon as you “hop on” the bus initially. Buses travel a fixed route and go by every 20 minutes or so in the busy season. During the slow season, on the other hand, they go by about once every 40 to 45 minutes. (At least, that was the case in years past. There were fewer buses on the road in April, 2022.)
Bus tickets can be purchased at various locations including online at Westcoast Sightseeing, at a kiosk outside Canada Place and at the concierge of many hotels.
Informational commentary is provided in English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, German and Korean.
Where does the Tour Bus Go?
Vancouver’s Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses go all over town and through many of the city’s most interesting districts including Granville Island, English Bay, Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, Chinatown and Gastown.
The buses go along several of Vancouver’s most interesting streets including Water Street, Robson, Granville and Beach Avenue. Other popular stops in years past are some of the city’s top downtown tourist attractions including Canada Place, FlyOver Canada, Vancouver Lookout, Sun Yat-Sen Garden, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Vancouver Aquarium.
The regular Hop-On Hop-Off bus fare does not include admission into any of the above attractions, but it does include interesting commentary along the way.
In addition to the regular tour route, Westcoast Sightseeing also offers special add-on routes to places like Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain on the North Shore, both of which include attraction admission.
Click Bus Route to see exactly where the Hop-On Hop-Off buses go.
Why Use Vancouver’s Hop-On Bus
Using the Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing bus to get around and explore Vancouver has a few advantages. One advantage is that it’s convenient – you don’t have to worry about parking, traffic or figuring out complicated transit bus schedules.
The buses also go to all the places you want to visit within the Vancouver downtown core. Also, while you’re getting from one place to the next you can be entertained and educated about Vancouver with the tour commentary.
Vancouver’s Bus Tour Alternatives
There is more than one way to get around Vancouver. Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing is a great option, but there is also the Vancouver Trolley Company (which is also owned by Westcoast Sightseeing).
Public Transit is another option, if you don’t own a car.
Vancouver Trolley Company
An alternative to the Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing bus is the Vancouver Trolley Company, another tour service that gives similar tours to Vancouver’s top tourist destinations for a similar price.
Getting Around with Public Transit
If you are on a budget and don’t mind missing out on the commentary, an alternative option is to just buy a transit day pass and rely on public transit to get around.
The cost for a day pass is $11 for adults and $8.65 for a concession pass. Day pass tickets can be purchased from ticket vending machines.
See the official Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing website for more information about Vancouver’s main in-town tour bus company.
Click Westcoast Sightseeing for details about bus tours to Vancouver’s North Shore, Whistler and Victoria.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Vancouver’s Top 2 Dozen Attractions
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Vancouver Sightseeing Tours