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Philadelphia Transportation

Getting There

Airport

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is 7 miles south of Center City and receives flights from hundreds of domestic and international destinations. The city's main transportation hub, PHL is serviced by all major carriers. Once on the ground, the city is easily accessible by following Interstates 95 or 76; however, we recommend beating the traffic by taking the R1 train, which picks up passengers from any terminal and whisks them downtown for about $7.

Bus

Comfortable standbys Greyhound and Peter Pan make stops in the city, with headquarters in Chinatown at 10th and Filbert streets. If you’re light on cash and up for a little adventure, stroll a few blocks down 11th Street and purchase a ticket for one of the city’s many bare-bones Chinatown buses, where the standard cost for a ticket to New York runs only $10. If you’re looking for Philadelphia transportation with a few amenities (like Wi-Fi and bathrooms you’re not afraid to use), we recommend Mega Bus, which makes its stops by 30th Street Station at 30th and Market streets. 

Train

Not counting the regional commuter service SEPTA, Philadelphia is served by two main train lines: Amtrak and PATCO (Port Authority Transit Corp). While PATCO largely connects commuters and day-trippers from nearby New Jersey, Amtrak provides Philadelphia transportation for those from more far-flung locales. Operated out of one of the biggest train hubs in the country, 30th Street Station, Amtrak may be the most efficient way to get from place to place (less than two hours from New York and D.C.), but it isn’t the cheapest. 

Getting Around

Driving

Compared to other big cities on the East Coast, like New York and D.C., Philly driving is a breeze. Streets are generally laid out in a grid-style pattern (with the exception of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Passyunk, which shoot off at angles), making them easy to navigate. The only drawback to bringing a car, besides the inevitable traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway, is parking, which can cost up to $20 an hour in some neighborhoods (use the website philly.bestparking.com to help find reasonable rates).  Even if you’re lucky enough to find street parking you’ll have to keep an eye on the meter, thanks to the infamously vigilant Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Public Transit
Philly is an extremely walkable city, but when your feet get tired, you can always take the public Philadelphia transportation. Philly has two main subway systems: the Orange Line, which runs north and south on Broad Street, and the Blue Line, which runs east and west on Market. Most visitor-friendly neighborhoods can be reached using these methods, with the exception of the Art Museum District, which requires a bus or cab ride. A series of buses, trolleys and regional rail lines help make even the farthest reaches of the city available. If you’re ever not sure how to get somewhere, head to City Hall, which serves as the heart of a majority of the city’s routes, regardless of mode of transportation.

Useful Information about SEPTA:

*Buses, subways and trolleys all take tokens, which cost $1.55 each and can be bought individually or in packs of two, five or 10.

*Purchasing a pass can be a bit confusing (there are six different types to choose from), but can save you a lot of money if you plan to ride the rails several times in a day. A Transpass ($22) is perfect for those staying a week, and even includes passage on the R1 from Center City to the Airport.

*All subway stations and select stores (try convenience and drugstores), sell tokens.

*Find transit maps and a route planner on the SEPTA website.

Taxis

Taxis are great for getting to spots harder to reach by subway, like the Art Museum and Fairmount areas. Cabs are prevalent in the Center City area, and can easily be found anywhere on the city’s two main thoroughfares, Market and Broad streets. If you fly into Philadelphia International Airport, a cab ride to Center City will set you back at least $25. If you’re looking to save some money, try riding the R1, which takes you from the airport all the way to Center City (with stops at two train stations, 30th Street and Suburban Station) for a third of the price.

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