Commuting 85 kilometers to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus is a struggle I have learned to live with, but it doesn’t need to be so hard.
Just a few years ago I lived five minutes away from the Surrey campus and had never considered transiting to school. I hadn’t even taken a bus by myself at that time because everything I needed was within walking distance. That all changed when I moved to Chilliwack and suddenly had to find my way from the heart of the Fraser Valley to KPU.
I was in for a rude awakening; TransLink does not run by where I live, which makes commuting to and from home considerably more complicated.
I am not alone in this struggle. With rising house and gas prices, more families are moving out to the Fraser Valley for a slightly cheaper life. But just because we don’t live in Metro Vancouver doesn’t mean we can’t still go to KPU.
As a veteran bus taker, here is what I have learned about how to get to KPU from the Fraser Valley if you are struggling with your commute.
First of all, don’t drive! It’s nice if you can drive or have someone to drive you, but it’s not worth draining your tank every day commuting back and forth.
Second, don’t listen to anyone who tells you the West Coast Express is a good idea. The WCE is a train operated by TransLink that runs between Mission City Station and Waterfront Station, and it is not an option if you want to get to class on time or get home before 7 pm.
The only reasonable option for getting to Metro Vancouver from my part of the Fraser Valley is to take the BC Transit bus #66, the Fraser Valley Express.
The FVX begins its run at 5:15 am in Downtown Chilliwack, stops throughout the rest of the city, and then travels down Highway 1. It stops at both McCallum and Highstreet in Abbotsford, and then finally reaches Langley at Carvolth Station at around 6:30 am. Another bus runs half an hour later than the first and continues its run until 9:00 pm.
Sadly, because BC Transit operates the FVX, your Compass card won’t work. You will need a $5 bill to get where you want to go—and that’s $5 each way. Some stores in the Fraser Valley sell tickets for the FVX, making it easier if you lose your $5 or simply get on the bus going the wrong way.
Now that you have your transit options figured out, be sure to take a book with you. Download some Netflix, Crave, or Amazon Prime TV to your phone. If you’re a procrastinator like me, spend the commute doing your homework. Sit near the doors and put your bag on the seat beside you and have a little nap, unless someone needs that seat!
The FVX takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get from Chilliwack to Carvolth Exchange, and that’s on days with no traffic. When there is traffic, you will need all of the above to keep you entertained.
Once you get to Carvolth Exchange, your transiting possibilities are endless. That expensive U-Pass you pay for finally becomes useful, and you’re free to use TransLink’s plethora of buses to find your way to your campus.
It is definitely tiresome at first, but after a while, the commute is a breeze. Maybe one day TransLink will extend its bus routes to the Fraser Valley. Until then, the FVX has got our backs.