Having to leave your beloved car behind when you come to college is not uncommon. So, what is an undergrad to do when it comes to getting around town? The easiest answer is to find the few kids with a car on campus and latch onto them. However, if you are not that lucky, here are some tips that should make travel a little easier.
1. The Franklin House Shuttle – Not just for Franklin Housers anymore. Have you ever taken the shuttle on a Sunday? Franklin House is within walking distance of the Art Museum and a lot of cool restaurants and bars, so hop on. Beware of the packed shuttles around 8 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., where hordes of students wait for the shuttle on 12th Street across from the vending pad. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes.
2. OwLoop – Get around campus quickly and safely. As winter approaches and the sun begins to set earlier and earlier, walking from J&H to Kardon for a late night study session doesn’t seem an appealing or safe idea. Hop on the OwLoop, and your trip is a breeze. Hitting each stop about every 15 minutes, the loop even stops at the train station. Call ahead, and they will be waiting when you arrive.
3. SEPTA – The obvious choice. The base fare for buses, subways, and trolleys is $2, but you can buy two tokens for $2.60. Transfers are 60 cents. If you ride public transportation often, look into getting a University TransPass. It’s a little-known, under-advertised discount offered by Temple that knocks 10 percent off the price of a monthly pass, and all registered full-time Temple University students are eligible. For more information, contact the Student Assistance Center at (215) 204-8531. Train ticket prices vary by zone and by peak/off-peak hours. Daypasses are $5.50 and are valid for one-day unlimited travel on buses, subways and trolleys. Weekly TransPasses are $18.75; monthly are $70, before the Temple discount.
4. Phlash – The big, purple trolley is cheaper than you thought. For only $1 each time you board, the Philly Phlash connects you quickly and easily between 18 key Center City attractions. It may sound a little touristy, but when was the last time you saw the Liberty Bell? Running every 12 minutes, tickets can be purchased onboard. There is also the option of the $4 all-day individual pass or $10 all-day family pass (2 adults and 2 children, 6 – 17 years old). Find more information and a route map at https://www.gophila.com/phlash/.
5. Cabs – Worth the price. All cabs are a blessing when you stumble out of a bar at 2 a.m. and cannot quite make it to the bus stop. The base fare for a cab just raised to $2.10, plus $2.10 for each additional mile. Some companies charge an extra 30 cents for a gas tax. Though cabs are more expensive than SEPTA, knowing a few tricks of the trade should keep your wallet a little fuller. For one, know where you are going. Cabbies tend to take the roundabout way when a passenger seems a little lost. Speak up if this happens, and you will be glad you did. For longer trips, know there are flat rates in place to keep fares low. For instance, any cab from the airport to Center City is always $20. Don’t let them swindle you. Always ride in marked taxis, and don’t forget to tip. Cab drivers have to make a living, too.
Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at email@example.com.