Getting around Calgary

Public transport

Calgary Transit (tel: +1 403 262 1000; runs the city’s bus services and light rail system (known as the CTrain). The service is punctual, clean and cheap.

Buses operate throughout the city, its suburbs and to the airport. The CTrain comprises two lines: the red line runs from Somerset-Bridlewood in the south to Tuscany in the northwest; the blue line runs from Saddletowne in the northeast to 69th Street SW in the west. The stretch where both lines overlap along 7th Avenue is a fare-free zone.

You can buy bus tickets upon boarding (exact change only) and CTrain tickets from vending machines at stations. Transfers (valid for 90 minutes) are available for switching between CTrains and buses. Day passes and books of 10 tickets (slightly cheaper) are available.


You can hail a taxi in the city centre at any time. There are numerous taxi operators in Calgary, including Checker Yellow Cabs (tel: +1 403 299 9999) and Mayfair Taxi (tel: +1 403 255 6555). An initial charge applies and the price rises according to the time and distance travelled. Drivers are commonly tipped around 10 to 15% of the fare.


Calgary is laid out on an easy-to-follow grid system, although the way the city is divided into quadrants, such as Southwest (SW), may be a bit confusing at first. In the city centre, the Bow River divides north from south, while Centre Street separates east and west. Major streets and avenues are named according to number, with avenues running east-west and streets running north-south. Many streets are one way, and even the locals are often confused with the quadrant system.

Street parking is available, although rare in the city centre during the day. Parking in one of the plentiful private lots is more reliable. The Calgary Parking Authority (tel: +1 403 537 7000; has details on locations, operating hours and rates.

Car hire

Most major North American and international car hire firms operate within Calgary. Drivers must be 21 years or older, and those under 25 may have to pay a surcharge with certain firms. A full driving licence from your home country is usually sufficient. Insurance is essential and is available from the car hire firm.

Car hire companies include Avis (tel: +1 403 269 6166;, Hertz (tel: +1 403 221 1676; and Thrifty (tel: +1 403 262 4400;

Bicycle hire

Calgary claims to have North America’s most extensive bike network, with nearly 800km (500 miles) 700km of pathways. A downloadable route map is available from The city is also gradually introducing separated bike lanes on major routes into the centre.

You can hire bikes and rollerblades through Sports Rent, 4424 16th Avenue NW (tel: +1 403 292 0077;

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.