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Calgary: More on Education and Transport

More and more people are drawn to life in Calgary, this young city in the south of Alberta, Canada. The InterNations Expat Guide tells you all you need to know about living in Calgary, including info about the healthcare system, Calgary’s schools, as well your local transportation options.

Schooling: International or Private?

With the Lycée Louis Pasteur and the Calgary French & International School (CFIS), Calgary has two international private schools that offer French Immersion programs. However, sending your children to one of these, or any one of the other private schools in Calgary, can cost you a pretty penny: From kindergarten to 12th grade, annual tuition fees typically start at around 6,500 CAD and can easily go up to 16,000 CAD or more.

Top-Notch Universities

With around ten different colleges and universities, Calgary certainly has a lot to offer those seeking further education. Large and well-known institutions of higher education in the city include:

  • The University of Calgary
  • Mount Royal University
  • Bow Valley College
  • SAIT Polytechnic

The Best Ways of Reaching Calgary

Many expats will travel to the city via Calgary International Airport, which has flights serving major cities in the US and Canada, as well as some destinations in East Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe. Alternatives to flying include taking a bus, traveling by train, or driving to Calgary via the Queen Elizabeth II Highway or the Trans-Canada Highway.

Intercity bus services are readily available from Greyhound Canada or Red Arrow. Passenger train services, on the other hand, are nowadays more of a luxury journey than a feasible mode of transportation, with prices for a two-day trip from Vancouver to Calgary starting at more than 1,500 CAD.

Getting Around and About

In Calgary itself, using trains to get around is much cheaper. The local LRT network with its so-called C-Trains includes two lines that cover the city from the south to the northwest (Red Line) and from the west to the northeast (Blue Line), respectively. A third line is currently in the planning phase. These train lines are further supplemented by an extensive bus network.

On the website of Calgary Transit, you can get the latest news (e.g. on detours), check routes and fares, as well as plan your trip. At the time of writing in November 2017, fares ranged from 3.25 CAD for a single ride to 101.00 CAD for a monthly pass. Keep in mind that you will not get back any change when paying in cash on a bus and that you will need coins for ticket booths.

Need a Taxi?

Rates for taxis in Calgary are regulated by the city’s Livery Transport Service and prices are the same for all taxi companies. At the time of writing, taxi rates consisted of:

  • a starting fare of 3.80 CAD (or alternatively 8.30 CAD for departures from the airport)
  • 0.20 CAD per unit

A unit is either 120 meters of your journey or 21 seconds of waiting time, whichever comes first. Tipping your driver around 10 —15% of the fare is also customary.

Highly Recommended: Get a Car  

In Calgary, as in the majority of Canada, most people prefer to use their own car to get around, and only 17% opt to use public transportation for their daily commute instead. With fuel prices relatively inexpensive and prices for a new vehicle starting at around 12,000 CAD, it is hardly surprising that approximately 80% of Canadians own a car to get around.

After importing or buying a car, make sure to insure it, get it registered by one of the Alberta Registry Agents in Calgary, and always keep your insurance and registration documents with you while driving.

For more information on owning a car and driving safely, especially in winter, take a look at our Expat Guide on Driving in Canada.

Alternatively, you can also use the more than 800 km of on-street routes and pathways to get around the city by bicycle. You can check the current pathways and bikeways map on Calgary’s official city website.

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

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