British Columbia

Here's how much time you save by commuting anywhere in B.C. but Vancouver

Metro Vancouverites spend an average of ten days a year getting to and from work, more than anywhere else in the province.

Metro Vancouverites spend 10 days a year getting to and from work, more than anywhere else in the province

Commuters in Vancouver spend more time getting to work every day than in other parts of B.C. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

Residents of Metro Vancouver may have shorter commutes than their Montreal and Toronto counterparts, but compared to the rest of B.C., they are spending much more time in traffic, on buses and generally getting to and from work every day.

The average daily commute for the Vancouver census metropolitan area, which includes White Rock, Maple Ridge and UBC, is 29.7 minutes one-way — or almost an hour daily. That's less than the 30 and 34-minute one-way commutes endured by the average worker in Montréal and Toronto, respectively, but it's also up from the 28.4 minute average commute time in Metro Vancouver in 2011.

It's also more than any other census agglomeration or census metropolitan area in B.C. — sometimes significantly so. 

Stats Canada asked commuters to provide their one-way commute time in 2016.

For example, when compared to the Abbotsford-Mission region, Metro Vancouverites spend an average of 7.2 extra minutes commuting every day. That jumps to 19.8 minutes more when compared to Kelowna, 22.6 minutes more than those in Prince George and a whopping 36.2 minutes more than commuters in Prince Rupert, the region with the shortest commute time overall.

In Prince Rupert, the average journey to work is just 11.6 minutes one-way; 83.7 per cent of commuters use a vehicle, 8.2 per cent walk and less than 0.9 per cent take a bike. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

When expanded to a 252 working day year, that means the average worker in Prince Rupert has a full six days extra to themselves compared to their Metro Vancouver counterparts (the median household income of Prince Rupert is also $758 higher than Metro Vancouver).

Vancouver, Victoria least vehicle dependent regions

That said, the method of getting to work in Vancouver is also quite different from those in other parts of the province. While 20.4 per cent of commuters in Metro Vancouver are using public transit, that number is just 10.9 per cent in Victoria and less than five per cent everywhere else. 

Fort St. John is the most car-dependant census agglomeration in British Columbia, with 92.6 per cent of commuters either driving or carpooling to get to and from work. Abbotsford-Mission, Quesnel, Chilliwack and Prince George round out the top five. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

The five most vehicle-dependent census agglomerations or census metropolitan areas in B.C. are Fort St. John (92.6 per cent), Abbotsford-Mission (92.5 per cent), Quesnel (92.5 per cent), Prince George (92.3 per cent) and Chilliwack (90.8 per cent).

The five least vehicle dependent areas are Vancouver (69.3 per cent), Victoria (69.8 per cent), Nelson (75.9 per cent), Penticton (83.2 per cent) and Prince Rupert (83.7 per cent). 

Time spent commuting

Here are the average one-way commute times, in minutes, for every census agglomeration and census metropolitan area in B.C.:

Canada: 26.2
British Columbia: 25.9

Vancouver: 29.7
Squamish: 27.1
Abbotsford-Mission: 26.1
Chilliwack: 24.5
Victoria: 22.2
Campbell River: 21.9
Duncan: 21.6
Parksville: 20.1
Kelowna: 19.8
Kamloops: 19.4
Port Alberni: 19.3
Nanaimo: 19.3
Courtenay: 18.9
Nelson: 18.9
Williams Lake: 18.7
Quesnel: 18.5
Prince George: 18.4
Vernon: 18.3
Cranbrook: 18.1
Fort St. John: 16.5
Penticton: 16.3
Powell River: 16
Salmon Arm: 15.6
Terrace: 15.1
Dawson Creek: 14.9
Prince Rupert: 11.6

With files from Tara Carman


Andrew Kurjata

CBC Prince George | @akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is an award-winning journalist covering Northern British Columbia for CBC Radio and, situated in unceded Lheidli T'enneh territory in Prince George. You can email him at You can also send encrypted messages using Signal or iMessage to 250.552.2058.