Public transit is available in Manitoban cities like Brandon, Winnipeg and Thompson. It is the most affordable and convenient way to get around locally, especially when you are not familiar with the major thoroughfares and streets yet. Check regular bus routes and schedules in advance so you’ll get to your destination on time. Go online, as most city transits publish their schedules. You can also call for schedules and other updates. If you are in Winnipeg, read 10 things to know about taking the bus to learn about public transportation.
There are also buses and air shuttles if you wish to travel out of the city. Go to Getting Around Manitoba by Bus to know your options.
You may use your foreign driver’s licence for up to three months from your date of entry in Manitoba. Before the three months is up, you must apply for a driver’s license. While driving is the easiest way to get around, you must also consider the additional costs that come with this convenience. Some of these include registration and insurance fees, parking and gas expenses, and maintenance, a big part of which is getting your car winter-ready. If you need a car occasionally and don’t want the hassle of owning a vehicle, consider carsharing. Go to Peg City Car Co-op to know how carsharing works.
If you need temporary car service, there are many car rental companies in Manitoba. Depending on the type of car, rates vary per company. Check out Entreprise, Avis, CAA Manitoba or Kayak and Expedia if you want to compare rates.
Unlike in some cities, people do not normally hail a cab on the street in Manitoba. You have to call a cab company to book a ride. Taxi fares depend on your destination and rates are non–negotiable. There is usually a flag-down rate and a fixed rate for the succeeding kilometers of the trip. If service has been satisfactory, you may also add a tip. To get an idea of taxi fares in Manitoba, go to Taxi Fare Finder. For a listing of taxis in Manitoba, check the Yellowpages.
You will see many Manitobans bike or rollerblade to work or around the city in spring and in summer. Most areas have good bike lanes or paths which you can use safely and establishments have convenient racks to park your bike (you will have to bring your own chain and lock). Getting around the city this way is encouraged, as it provides good exercise and lessens air pollution. You are required to wear a helmet, as well as knee and elbow pads for your safety. Get a city map too, so you’ll know the shortest routes to your destination (you can find cycling routes online). Read Bike safety for newcomers for safe biking tips and to know the rules of the road in Manitoba.
The best way to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings is to walk around your area. Just like biking, it’s good for your health and it’s free! If you live a reasonable distance to work, school, or shops (and if the weather permits), just walk. Most areas are safe, but of course, take the necessary precautions. Do not walk around alone late at night, or go into unfamiliar streets and alleys. Maps are always helpful if you plan to walk farther; they also show you the shortest route.
If you are traveling out of the city or across the country, VIA Rail Canada is a good option. VIA Rail Canada operates more than 480 trains per week to more than 450 cities in Canada. While it may not be the fastest route to anywhere, it is the most scenic way; riding a train is an adventure in itself.
Planning a trip somewhere farther in Manitoba like Churchill? There are airlines and air shuttles that can serve you. For scenic Churchill, you can choose between Calm Air or First Air or arrange your trip with a tour operator like Frontier North Adventures. If you’re going to Brandon or Dauphin and time is of the essence (for example for a medical appointment or business meeting), pre-book your flight with an airshuttle.
Article updated February, 2020.
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