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How to Get a Vancouver Taxi Cab (+2024 Apps)

Having lived in Vancouver, London, and Barcelona, I can confidently assert that the Vancouver taxi experience stands out as the least satisfactory.

Flagging down a taxi seems as unfamiliar as serving ferret soup.

Moreover, to compound matters, we were the final North American city to embrace ridesharing.

If any taxi system needs a guide, it’s ours. However, with some patience and insider knowledge, you’ll swiftly navigate to your destinations without any hassle.

INDEX

1 – Vancouver taxis
2 – How to get a taxi
3 – Prices
4 – Airport taxis + fare zones
5 – Apps
6 – FAQ

Vancouver Taxis

One of the top things to do in Vancouver is complain about the taxi service, and it starts with numbers.

With one taxi to every 4,000 residents it’s dead last for Canadian cities, and won’t even come close to our neighbours south of the border.

This was generally due to taxi lobbies pressuring the government not to issue more licenses for fear of their assets being devalued.

It’s also hard to maintain quality standards with 28 taxi companies operating in the city.

So how does one choose?

Don’t worry, I’m going to narrow it down to just a few to make it easy.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

How to Get a Taxi in Vancouver BC

As I said up top if you’re getting a cab in Vancouver it’s unlikely to flag one unless you’re at major spots in downtown Vancouver like Granville Street, Gastown, Chinatown etc.

Even in the best areas to stay like Kitsilano or Commercial Drive you’ll need to call or book online – stay tuned for the links below.

So how do you get a taxi in Vancouver with the least hassle?

Here’s my 7 Vancouver taxi tips to get you rolling:

  • Always consider ridesharing or Vancouver public transport first
  • Calling ahead is usually the best idea (numbers below)
  • Always check with your hotel or hostel first as they can call one for you
  • If you’re downtown, head to a major hotel as they have ranks outside
  • Taxis with roof lights on are free to hail
  • Tipping is standard so leave 10-20% unless the service was really bad
  • From abroad? Ask for a receipt to get a GST refund on the ride

Keep in mind too that during typical Vancouver weather with rain it’ll be harder to hail, so seek refuge in Vancouver’s top bars or restaurants and call there.

Also: don’t be afraid to grab the cell phone number of any competent driver. If you leave a good tip, calling them directly will often be faster for you return trip.

vancouver whale tour banner

Vancouver Taxi Companies

Any Google search for ‘Vancouver taxi’ will yield you a veritable bloodbath of one star reviews and turbulent tirades.

a list of low vancouver taxi reviews

Afraid yet?

The important thing to remember is people write reviews mostly after bad experiences, and these scores don’t reflect the mean.

Also, this means companies are virtually interchangeable so there’s no point stressing too much about which is the best taxi company in Vancouver.

That said, I’ve added a few pluses for each Vancouver taxi company in the brackets.

Taken more than one of these companies? I’d be curious to hear your comparison in the comments below.

Vancouver Taxi Prices

City bylaws dictate standard taxi rates across the board regardless of company.

Vancouver taxis are required by law to run on the meter so no negotiations are possible. If they quote you a flat rate, tell them to hit the bricks.

The following fares are based on average traffic flow only and are subject to fluctuations.

  • Flag (first 1/13th of a km): $3.75
  • Per km: $2.18
  • Per hour: $38.93

Going elsewhere? I usually use this fairly accurate Vancouver taxi fare calculator.

Vancouver Airport Taxi

Let me preface this by saying that if you’re staying downtown it could be considerably cheaper taking Vancouver airport transport.

The Skytrain takes 26 minutes and costs just under $10.00.

That said, if you’re traveling in a group, have the company card, or are just made of money then taking a taxi from Vancouver airport to downtown is ideal.

YVR is 15 km (9 miles) from City Centre Station (Granville & Georgia). Expect the taxi trip to take 20 (off peak) to 45 minutes (rush hour).

Vancouver Airport Taxi Fare Zones

To avoid price gouging there are set flat fares from Vancouver Airport to the city, depending on what area you’re going to.

Each area is assigned a zone from 1-12 with costs between $20.00 and $47.00.

As you can see in the preview below downtown costs $41.00.

a map showing zone taxi fare in the whole vancouver

You can see all the fares downloading the YVR taxi fare zone pdf.

Vancouver Taxi Apps

The four downtown best taxi app Vancouver companies (Yellow, Vancouver, MacLure’s, and Black Top) have recently launched a singular online dispatching system.

Downloading eCab allows you to book, pay for, and track taxis with a Vancouver taxi app just like Uber or Lyft.

It’s available for both iPhone and Android devices.

If you are looking for an alternative to a taxi in Vancouver. Try Blacklane, which revolutionizes transportation by linking travelers with a worldwide network of skilled chauffeurs.

FAQ

How much for a taxi from Vancouver airport to downtown?

The fare for taxi from Vancouver airport to downtown is approximately $ 35.30 CAD. 

How much is a taxi in Vancouver?

Taxi in Vancouver typically starts with a base rate of around $ 3.75 CAD, with an additional $2.18 CAD per kilometer. Waiting time is charged at $38.93 CAD per hour.

How do I get a taxi in Vancouver?

To get a taxi in Vancouver, you can hail one on the street, find a taxi stand, or use ride-hailing apps like Uber, Lyft, or E-cab. You can also call a taxi company or book online.

How do I call a taxi in Vancouver?

You can call taxi in Vancouver through the following Vancouver taxi numbers: (604) 681-1111, (604) 681-2181, (604) 871-1111, (604) 683-6666, (604) 433-4466.

Can I get a taxi with a baby seat?

Yes, you can get a taxi with a baby seat. Many taxi companies in Vancouver offer this option. It’s highly advisable to specify your requirements when booking to ensure availability.

What is the maximum number of passengers in a Vancouver taxi?

The maximum number of passengers in a Vancouver taxi is typically four, although some larger taxis may accommodate up to six passengers depending on the vehicle’s seating configuration.

I need a Vancouver taxi for 5, how do I get one?

If you need a Vancouver taxi for 5, you must pre-book by calling and specifying your need for a van taxi. Also, with the eCab and other apps, it is possible to request a bigger vehicle.

Is there a Vancouver taxi fare calculator?

Yes, there are plenty of Vancouver taxi fare calculators out there like Taxi Calculator and Yellow Cab Online. You can simply input your starting point and destination to estimate the fare before your journey.

Do Vancouver taxis take debit or credit card?

Yes, most Vancouver taxis accept debit and credit cards as payment methods, in addition to cash. However, it’s advisable to confirm with the taxi driver beforehand to ensure card payment is accepted.

 

I have a disability/limited mobility/wheelchair, what do you recommend?

For passengers with disabilities or limited mobility or in a wheelchair, it’s recommended to use accessible taxi services in Vancouver.

 

Do I need to tip Vancouver taxis?

Tipping in Vancouver taxis is customary but not mandatory. It’s generally appreciated to tip around 10-15% of the fare for good service, but it’s ultimately at the passenger’s discretion.

Can I pay in US dollars in a Vancouver taxi?

Yes, you can pay in US dollars in Vancouver but it’s recommended to pay in Canadian dollars to avoid potential exchange rate discrepancies. Most taxis prefer Canadian currency and it’s best to confirm with the driver beforehand.

What is the most popular taxi in Vancouver?

The most popular taxi in Vancouver is Yellow Cab Company as it is known for its extensive fleet, reliability, and widespread availability throughout the city.

Flag Me Down for More Info

In a sense, I see myself as a cab driver. You signal me, and I’ll assist you in reaching your destination within my city.

That’s why I encourage you to reach out to me for custom advice.

You can achieve this by following us and sending a message on our Facebook page or by leaving a comment below.

Happy riding 🙂

Ash

I've lived in 5 countries and created content for travel websites like eDreams and Amex Essentials, but here I finally get to work my passion project - my hometown, Vancouver!

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