Abstract illustration of booking car share cars on your smartphone
July 31, 2019
2 mins read

Driving to campus

The UBC Life Commuter Guide

Whether you’re an occasional driver, or your car knows you well enough to have your favourite change of shoes in the back, here's the scoop on driving to and from campus.


Metro Vancouver is victim to the city driver’s favourite friend—rush-hour traffic!—usually between 8:00-9:30 am and 3:30-5:30 pm. 

I highly recommend planning your route based on the current traffic, especially if you’re going over a bridge. Give it a quick google, or tune in to a traffic radio station—such as the traffic only AM 730—on the way.

If this really grinds your gears, try to drive outside of peak travel times. This could be as simple as scheduling some study, extracurricular, or friend time on campus before or after your classes.


Construction on campus can mean road closures and detours. Both can have a big impact on the time it takes to drive to school and even change your usual route to class.

Keep up to date on UBC construction, so that you’re prepared for any closures or detours ahead of time.

Parking on campus

Daily permits 

Scenario: You drive to campus longer than a few hours at a time, but it’s not often enough to get a term or monthly pass.

Pre-purchase a daily permit online from UBC Parking for $9.22 instead of the $20 it'd cost if you purchase at the parkade. With tax, the permit works out to $12 and you'll have access to one parkade ALL. DAY. LONG.

2-term permit 

Scenario: You drive to campus 3 to 5 times a week for classes and/or extracurriculars.

There are different price points based on how many parkades you need access to (you can choose from a 1-parkade, 2-parkade or 5-parkade permit), so take a look at UBC's parkade map and your classes, and see what’s best for your year. This type of permit is also a great option because it includes the price of overnight parking if you ever need that option.

This one might take a little bit of math to justify, but with a 1-parkade permit your parking ends up being around $7 a day if you’re driving to campus 5 days a week for both terms. 

Parking off campus

Scenario: Your hours and days on campus are somewhat unpredictable and you usually have some time to spare. Plus, you want to save some money.

Many students choose to park off-campus near one of the major bus lines and then take the bus in using their U-Pass.

16th Avenue, Sasamat Street, and Dunbar Street are all common areas to find free parking, but this method can be a gamble if you don’t find a spot on time, or if the buses going to campus are already full. Be sure to budget extra time!


Scenario: You only need to get to and from campus on a need-to basis—e.g. you want a car to drive back from a grocery store or go on an IKEA haul.

Check out this car-sharing page for a look at the different companies that offer service at UBC. Keep an eye out in September when a lot of them have booths on campus. That’s the easiest way to sign up and you often get free minutes!

Drive safe out there, don’t forget to shoulder check, and always have a good podcast ready for those potential long journeys on the road!