February 15, 2023 |

How to Get There: Navigating Philly 101


Hi, my name is Lisa Farley! I am a first-year student at Swarthmore College, hoping to double major in Computer Science and Engineering. In my free time, I love to ice skate and crochet. I am originally from NYC. I love exploring new places and trying new foods and I am super excited to explore Philly! 

Guest-written by Lisa Farley 

Whether you are from a busy, bustling city; or a quiet, undisturbed town, traveling to a new location can be confusing and stressful. Many college students, myself included, don’t have cars to use to get around the city, so we rely heavily on public transportation.

With this article, I hope that you feel more comfortable and reassured to go out and explore the City of Brotherly Love!

Types of Transportation

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is the largest and main source of public transportation in Philadelphia. Through SEPTA, you can find buses, subways, trolleys, and the Regional Rail. Most of the weekday services begin at 4AM and run all the way to midnight. Weekends and holiday services slightly differ, but to be sure of when your ride is arriving, definitely download the SEPTA app on the App Store or Google Play Store. 


Whether you are on the bus or Regional Rail, or whether it is a Sunday or a Thursday, the fare varies on the SEPTA. The fare on the Regional Rail depends on your method of payment, where you board, where you exit, what day it is, and the time. Depending on your circumstances, the fare could range from $3.75 to $10.00. The fare for the buses and trolleys range from $2.00 to $2.50. 

Student deal alert! SEPTA offers a 10% student discount for students at these participating universities, including: University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, University of the Arts, and University of the Sciences.

Courtesy of Chris Henry on Unsplash

Traveling Outside of Philadelphia

The Port Authority Transportation Corporation (PATCO) is another public transportation system that serves the Philadelphia area and runs through Camden County, New Jersey. There are a total of 13 stations. The PATCO runs 24 hours, 7 days a week, with some exceptions at certain stations like the 9th/Locust Station. PATCO also has an app that can be downloaded where you can view the available train schedules.

The fare ranges from $1.40 to $3.00 on a one-way trip and $2.80 to $6.00 on a round trip. PATCO offers a free FREEDOM card, a stored value card, with proof of a valid student ID!

Courtesy of Delaware River Port Authority


Indego is a public bike transit system that is based in Philadelphia. With more than 140 sites stationed around the city, Indego offers 24-hour, 30-day, or yearly passes to their customers. The 24-hour pass costs around $15, and the 30-day pass costs around $20, while the yearly pass costs around $156. To check out a bike, you first purchase a pass. After that, you can either download the Indego app and unlock a bike from there or use a nearby Kiosk to check a bike out and get riding!

Courtesy of Indego Bike Share

Neighborhoods To Check Out 

Now that you know how to get around, here is a rundown of some popular neighborhoods, things to do, and how to get to there:

Courtesy of PMG Staff

Where: Washington Square West 


How: Jefferson Station on the Regional Rail or 8th, 11th, or 13th Street on the Market-Frankford Line

Courtesy of Eric L. Bowers

Where: Center City 


How: Broad Street Line or Market- Frankford Line with SEPTA

Courtesy of John Donges

Where: Rittenhouse Square 


How: Suburban Station or 30th Street on the Regional Rail, 15th/16th Street & Locust Street Station with PATCO, Indego bikes are popular in the area

Courtesy of Kofla Olivieri

Where: Chinatown 


How: 23, 47,47M, 48, and 61 bus lines, Jefferson Station on the Regional Rail

Courtesy of Peeter Viisimaa

General Safety Tips

Exploring a city, whether it is new to you or not, is always fun but we have to make sure that we are safe when doing so. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while traveling: 

  1. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. 
  2. Walk in well-lit, public areas. Avoid secluded streets, dark lit areas, and vacant lots. 
  3. Walk with purpose, keep your eyes up, and don’t be blinded by your technology. 
  4. Do not engage, or become engaged, in conversations with strangers.
  5.  Trust your gut. Remove yourself from any situations that you deem unsafe.
  6. Check in with your campus’ security website to get general information & resources on how to stay safe.


These are just my personal tips, but check out this article about campus safety here: Campus Safety Guide


Now that you have read this article, you are ready to explore the city of Philadelphia! You’ll be able to navigate Philly either through the SEPTA, PATCO, and/or Indego, travel safely using the tips and resources provided, and have a blast at the tourist sites and neighborhoods recommended.

Go out and enjoy the gems of the city!


Campus Philly’s First-Gen Journal: Stories, Advice, and Resources from First-Generation Students

Being a first-generation student (first in your family to go to college) comes with a new territory, new experiences, and unexpected challenges—plus, a unique story. Campus Philly had the chance…

Career Growth Starts on Campus, Here’s Why: An Interview with Maria Storaci of Stockton U

Maria Storaci is a student at Stockton University who is working while pursuing her degree! She is a Career Ambassador for Stockton University, helping other students find their place in…

Stay up-to-date on the latest student events, deals, and ideas this semester.