Bowen’s is a unique commute—on the ferry deck, breathing fresh sea air, talking with neighbors. Much more pleasant than looking at the tailpipe of the vehicle in front of you!
Drive or take a bus to the ferry terminal in Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
From there, the ferry to Snug Cove leaves almost every hour, and the trip takes approximately 20 minutes.
No reservations are necessary, but experienced commuters try to be 20-30 minutes early at the ferry terminal during the busy morning and evening runs—and even earlier for busy long-weekend sailings.
Ticket sales end 10 minutes before scheduled sailing times, so give yourself enough time to purchase a ticket.
For the current sailing schedule and fares, call BC Ferries at 1-888-223-3779 from anywhere in North America, or visit the BC Ferries website.
Bowen Island Municipality has produced a Ferry Guide with official and unwritten rules for vehicles and foot passengers, including a map that shows how to line up your vehicle in the ferry lane.
NOTE: BC Ferries Experience Card — an electronic swipe card that can be loaded and reloaded with money and used to pay for ferry travel on participating routes (Bowen Island is one of those routes). Cardholders have access to savings by loading the card with at least the minimum Stored Value amount.
A unique commute — on the ferry deck, breathing fresh sea air, talking with neighbors. (More pleasant than looking at the tailpipe of the vehicle in front of you.)
A passenger-only water taxi operated by a local Bowen Island company provides year-round, late-night service between Bowen Island the Government Wharf at Horseshoe Bay. Its schedule is as follows:
Depart Snug Cove
11:15 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday), 12:15 a.m. (Friday & Saturday)
Depart Horseshoe Bay
11:30 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday), 12:30 a.m. (Friday & Saturday)
For more details or fares, call 604-250-2630 (cellular) or visit their website. They also offer year-round charter service throughout Howe Sound.
Bowen Land and Sea Taxi (B.L.A.S.T.) provides land weekend-night taxi service on Bowen Island—as well as passenger-only sea taxi service at various times between Bowen Island and Granville Island in Vancouver. Call 604-250-TAXI (604-250-8294) for the land taxi, or book online for the sea taxi. Their website provides information about scheduled runs, fares, and reservation information.
The ride share van runs to and from the University of British Columbia (UBC) via downtown Vancouver five days a week. It departs Bowen on the 6:20 a.m. ferry sailing, arriving at UBC at approximately 7:30. It departs UBC at 4:25 p.m., arrives in downtown Vancouver around 4:55 p.m. for pick ups, and arrives at Horseshoe Bay for assured loading on the 5:45 p.m. ferry to Bowen Island. For information, check their website or call 778-926-4704.
TransLink Community Shuttle buses provide local daily service for commuter ferry runs (morning and evening) for much of the island (Route 280-Bluewater/Snug Cove and Route 281-Eaglecliff/Snug Cove). Plus weekend service during the summer, including Route 282 to take hikers to and from the ferry to the trail head at Hikers Trail on Mount Gardner Road. Call 604-947-0229 for schedule information.
The Bowen Express Bus operates between Bowen Island and downtown Vancouver. In the morning it picks up people in Horseshoe Bay who come on the 6:30, 7:30, or 8:30 ferry and takes them downtown (the first trip of the week departs from the ferry deck, and all other trips depart from the north side of the BC Ferries ticketing building). In the afternoon, the Express Bus picks up people from three downtown stops along Georgia Street at 3:45, 4:45, and 5:45, and takes them to Horseshoe Bay, timed to meet a water taxi (4:30 and 5:30) and the afternoon/early evening ferries (4:30, 5:30, and 6:30). This bus schedule adjusts as the ferry schedule adjusts during the year. For more information see the the Facebook page for the Bowen Island Express Bus group.
Hitchhiking on Bowen Island is encouraged (it’s not illegal) — in fact, there is a website to coordinate hitchhiking on Bowen in an effort to reduce car use on Bowen.
Explore the island on a scooter rented from Zoom Zoom Bowen. Their website provides more information.
Explore Snug Cove and surroundings on an electric bicycle rented from Bowen eBikes. Their website provides more information.
Private vehicles are the primary form of transportation on the island. A few years ago the local Chamber of Commerce stated that approximately 40% of the working force on Bowen Island commutes daily into Greater Vancouver to work.