Calgary is an eco-friendly city and its public transport system is no exception. One of the greenest and most convenient ways of getting around the city is Calgary’s public transport system. For newcomers, it’s helpful to get familiar with the public transport system so you can use it to get around and reduce your expenses. This guide provides an overview of how public transport works in Calgary and how you can use it.
Public Transport in Calgary
Calgary has a simple, yet thorough public transport system. Its public transport is made up of mostly buses and a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system called the CTrain. Together, this simple and convenient transport system will serve all of your transportation needs in Calgary. Calgary also has a bike-share service called Lime, that will let you rent electric bikes throughout the city. Calgary’s public transport system is managed by Calgary Transit, which is owned and operated by the city of Calgary.
Public Transport in Calgary: CTrain
Calgary’s CTrain is one of the fastest ways to get around the city, reaching up to speeds of 80 km/h. The CTrain is an LRT which is a modern type of rail transit that runs on electricity. There are two CTrain lines in Calgary called the Red Line and the Blue Line. Because of its speed and reliability, the CTrain is usually the better option over buses whenever you can use it.
The Red Line is the first and largest CTrain line in Calgary. It runs from the northwest quadrant of Calgary, through downtown and ends at the south side of Calgary. The Blue Line is the second of the two lines. It runs from the northeastern quadrant of the city, through downtown, and ends at the western side of Calgary.
Together, these two lines provide the backbone for Calgary’s public transport system. The CTrain is a fast and reliable way to get around the city, with trains running every 15-30 minutes. The CTrain operates from around 4:30 AM to 1:00 AM. Generally, trains run longer on the south side of Calgary, as the south side is usually busier. Click here to access the full map of CTrain routes and stations, as well as maps for every individual CTrain station.
Constructing a New Transit Line
There is currently a third CTrain line under construction, called the Green Line. Once it is finished, the Green Line will run from the north side of Calgary to the southeastern quadrant. The Green Line will have 29 stations that are spread out over 46 kilometres of track, making it the biggest of the three lines. The first stage of construction, which consists of only the first 15 stations is expected to be completed in 2027. To learn more about the Green Line LRT project, click here.
One of the downsides of the CTrain system in Calgary is that it is not very extensive. Even with the completion of the Green Line, the CTrain will still not serve all your transportation needs by itself. So to get to places where the CTrain doesn’t go, you will need to use the bus.
Public Transport in Calgary: Buses
Calgary’s bus system runs on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Buses are a more extensive mode of public transport compared to the CTrain. And wherever the CTrain doesn’t go, buses will. With over 169 bus routes and 6000 bus stops, you can go almost anywhere in Calgary by using the bus. The operating times for buses depend on the specific bus and which route it runs on. Generally, most buses run every 20 minutes.
Buses are an ideal form of transportation if you need to travel to a place where the CTrain doesn’t go in Calgary. If you are travelling from one side of Calgary to another, a combination of both bus and CTrain routes is usually the fastest way to get to your destination.
Calgary Transit has a helpful tool that will tell you all the timings for each bus route. This tool will also give you directions on what bus to take if you put in your starting location and destination. If you are planning to use Calgary’s bus system in the future, make sure to check it out by clicking here.
Fare System for Calgary’s Public Transport
Calgary has a simple and easy-to-understand fare system for its public transport. The fare prices make public transport a much cheaper alternative to owning a car. Let’s take a look at the fare system for Calgary’s public transport below:
Adult Fare (18+) – $3.50
Youth Fare (6-17) – $2.40
Children aged five or under can ride free on Calgary Transit.
These are the basic fare prices you must pay every time you ride on the CTrain and the bus. Once you have paid for your fare, your ticket will be valid for 90 minutes. This allows you to transfer buses and trains for free, as long as the transfer happens within 90 minutes of purchasing your ticket.
Make sure you have a full plan of what buses and trains you need to take to get to your destination. If you have to transfer from the CTrain to a bus or vice-versa, you will need to ask for a transfer from your bus driver or hold on to your CTrain ticket.
How To Pay Your Fare
The most common way to pay for your fare is by cash. Another convenient way to pay your fare is by using the My Fare app. My Fare is a mobile app that you can use to buy tickets for your upcoming ride. The process is fast and reliable and it saves you from carrying change to pay your fare. You can also buy monthly or day passes from the My Fare app. Here is a guide by Calgary Transit to help you get set up with the My Fare app.
You can also buy tickets and passes from Calgary Transit’s online store. The online store also sells ticket books. You can buy a book of 25 tickets or 10 tickets for both adults and youth. Click here to access Calgary Transit’s online store.
Calgary Transit also has day and monthly passes. A monthly pass is valid until the end of the calendar month and a day pass is valid until the end of service that day. Here are the prices for monthly and daily passes for Calgary’s public transport:
Adult (18+) Day Pass – $11
Youth (6-17) Day Pass – $8
Adult (18+) Monthly Pass – $109
Youth (6-17) Monthly Pass – $79
If you plan on using Calgary’s public transport daily, it’s a good idea to get a monthly pass. Paying for a ticket each time you ride can start to add up if you ride often and monthly passes are a good way to reduce costs. Daily passes are good for visitors or anyone who is planning on using Calgary’s public transport more than three times that day.
Getting Around Calgary by Bike
Calgary has some of the best urban parks and pathways in Canada. Along with good bike infrastructure, this makes Calgary a bike-friendly city. If you prefer to bike rather than use public transport, Calgary is a great place for bikers.
If you are visiting Calgary or don’t own a bike, you can take advantage of Calgary’s bike-share service. Lime is a company that runs electric bikes in various cities including Calgary. For an affordable price, you will be able to rent an electric-assist bike from almost anywhere in Calgary.
Cost to Rent a Bike
Lime bikes cost $1 to unlock and then $0.30 for every minute you ride. And with a speed of almost 25 km/hr, Lime bikes are a quick way to get around the city. It is also very easy to unlock and start using a Lime bike. You will need to download the Lime app and find the nearest bike. When you reach the bike, you will need to scan the QR code on the bike using the Lime app. Once you have unlocked the bike, you can start your bike ride.
One of the best things about the Lime bike-share service is that you can leave your bike at almost any public space once you are finished using it. There are a few rules for parking your Lime bike but for the most part, you just have to make sure not to obstruct any pedestrian pathways. To learn more about Lime electric-assist bikes in Calgary, click here.
Calgary has an amazing public transport system that thousands of Calgarians take advantage of each day. Not only is using Calgary’s public transport cost-effective, but it also helps the environment. The LRT combined with Calgary’s thorough bus system is a quick and reliable way to get around the city. Together, these two modes of transportation will help you find your way around Calgary while making Calgary a truly green city.
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My name is Zain Usmani and I am a freelance content writer who currently resides in Mississauga, Ontario. I immigrated from Pakistan to Canada 5 years ago and have lived in many cities ever since. I have lived in Calgary AB, Edmonton AB, Regina SK, London ON, and Mississauga ON, while visiting over 40 Canadian cities and towns. I have a great passion for writing and I love helping people through it.