Here is our experience on the Big Bus from two summers ago.
Boarding the bus was easy at the first stop (near Gastown)
Reboarding the bus was miserable. The number of people waiting at both Granville Island and Stanley Park was more than the bus could take and too many people were left behind. The wait time for the next bus was at least 30 minutes. City traffic caused the bus to run behind schedule. I also noticed that "summer job" employees were different than regular employees.
If you found the lineups to wait for the next bus too much, you could always take a taxi back to the hotel or to the next "stop." Anywhere within the HOHO route would amount to $10 or so. Added expense, I know, but would conserve stamina.
I've just compared Big Bus with Vancouver Trolley Tour. www.vancouvertrolley.com. Of all the stops, the only ones really worth hopping off for are Granville Island, Stanley Park and Canada Place, and maybe Gastown/Chinatown.
With only 2 days, you might want to just stay on the bus to get an orientation/overview of the city (live narration on Vancouver Trolley, canned narration on the Big Bus). The Vancouver Trolley also offers a separate $10 Stanley Park HOHO Shuttle service which I think might appeal to you. It stays within Stanley Park and makes 6 (I think) stops. You can find this option on the www.vancouvertrolley.co website.
A taxi would cost you about $10 to get from the Pan Pacific to Granville Island, the same to return. Or the #50 bus. The same for Stanley Park or the #19 bus.
My short answer to your question, even with the cautionary tale above, is Vancouver Trolley: seems a bit cheaper, 80 minutes and live narration.
my big bus experience in July was terrible. We spent most of our time waiting - over 40 minutes for a bus and ended up walking. We would see 3-5 trolleys before ever seeing a big bus.
The Trolley has a Senior 2 day rate for $40.- sounds like a bargain.
We will be in Vancouver on Sept. 30th and Oct.1st, so hopefully the summer crowds will be gone. Waiting 30 or 40 minutes would certainly be a waste of precious time.
Excellent timing. Bring a rain type jacket with hood and/or umbrella, just in case, for that time of year.
Your hotel will have umbrellas to borrow, but bring a rain type jacket for sure. I also second trying the trolley tour as I think it looks better.
Vanc trolley does live commentary which I would prefer over canned commentary on the Big Bus. BB does have larger open top buses which is probably their selling point. I haven't done either so can't really speak
Personally i wouldn't recommend the Big Bus.I used it last year and was unfortunate to get the same driver over the two days the ticket was valid for.He was as obnoxious as they come,shouting at people to get a move on and swearing.I believe one of the passengers reported him so hopefully he no longer has a job there.If you do use Big Bus I hope you have a better experience.I guess I was just unlucky.Everyone else I met on my trip could not have nicer.
Sorry ChrisYork. It always irks me when someone who works in a tourist related job treats tourists that way. I wonder why they bother working in that capacity. Thankfully everyone else was pleasant, but I guess every city has it's share of rude people.
Thanks- from all that I am reading The Trolley seems to be the way to go.
Really looking forward to the Vancouver visit- it is pre-Hawaiin cruise. May as well take advantage of seeing one of Canada's loveliest cities, right?
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