Getting Around Saint John, New Brunswick
The best ways to get around Saint John are on foot and by car. Many of the city's most popular attractions can be found within its concentrated uptown and are within walking distance of one another. But if you are planning to visit sites outside of Saint John proper – like Fundy National Park – you will need your own set of wheels. You can find major rental car agencies in the city and at Saint John Airport (YSJ), which is located about 10 miles northeast of uptown Saint John. If you don't want to spend money on a rental car, you can rely on the city's bus system to get around.
Uptown Saint John is located on a rather small peninsula and can easily be explored on foot. The heart of the city is home to many of Saint John's top attractions, including the Saint John City Market and the New Brunswick Museum. And when the weather gets chilly, you can traverse the uptown area via the Inside Connection, a series of indoor walkways that connect a variety of restaurants and even a few hotels. Keep in mind, though, that many of the city's natural attractions – such as the Reversing Falls Rapids and Irving Nature Park – are only accessible by car since they lie outside the city center.
Saint John Transit operates more than 20 bus routes throughout the city. If you're planning to rely on public transport as your primary means of getting around, there are two key lines you should know: Lines 1 and 3. Both of these routes pass through uptown, stopping at King's Square. These main lines operate at regular 15- or 30-minute intervals Monday through Saturday from roughly 6 a.m. to 11 or 11:30 p.m. Limited service is also available for these routes on Sundays and holidays. For bus maps and timetables, visit Saint John Transit's Routes & Schedules page.
One-way bus rides cost 2.75 Canadian dollars (roughly $2) for adults and CA$2.50 (less than $2) for seniors and children ages 6 to 14. Kids 5 and younger ride for free. You can pay for your fare with cash or with a Transcard. The CA$22 to CA$50 (or about $16.50 to $38) Transcard fee covers either 10 or 20 rides. Each ride paid for with a Transcard is slightly discounted.
Having a car comes in handy if want to visit sites outside of uptown Saint John. You can rent a car at Saint John Airport or from one of several rental car agencies in the city center. Just note that parking in central Saint John can be expensive, especially if you're looking for spaces on major streets like King Street. Instead, turn onto one of the many side streets where you can find parking for free. You should also be aware that gas in Canada is sold by the liter, not the gallon, and is generally more expensive than in the U.S.
Cabs are readily available throughout Saint John, but uptown's walkability makes them an unnecessary expense. A more affordable alternative for getting to farther locales like Fundy National Park and the airport is to rent a car. If you're set on using a taxi to get from point A to point B, expect to pay a base fare of CA$5 (about $4), plus CA$1.85 (less than $1.50) per mile traveled. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft do not currently operate in and around Saint John.
Ferries between uptown Saint John and Digby, Nova Scotia, operate daily. Digby – a quiet harbor town – makes a great daytrip for those looking to escape Saint John's industrial atmosphere. But the main reason to cross the Bay of Fundy is to enjoy the views (you might even spot a whale or two during the journey). However, these are costly vistas: Same-day, round-trip tickets cost CA$44 or CA$54 (roughly $33 or $41) for adults and CA$28 or CA$39 (about $21 or $29.50) for children ages 6 to 13, depending on the season. There is no fee for kids 5 and younger.
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