In his 15-part series, Matt Flocco gives freshmen a slice of wisdom each week.
This year, I’m in charge of a group of students who volunteer at a high school right off the Erie Broad Street Line stop in North Philadelphia. One volunteer, a freshman, was arriving late last week and got lost on the way up. Unfortunately, I missed most of her calls and messages. She finally arrived 15 minutes before we ended. Naturally, I felt horrible.
It is high time to educate the freshmen on public transportation. Unlike New York and Washington, Philadelphia only has two major metro lines: the Broad Street Line (orange) and the Market-Frankford Line (blue, or the “El”). They intersect at City Hall.
Fare is $1.55 per token/ride, but if you don’t have one on you it costs $2. It always helps to carry change, because the good ole’ SEPTA machines tend not to work from time to time.
What is a SEPTA machine you ask? One where you try profusely to push in your crinkled dollar bills for change and tokens. Supposedly Philadelphia is trying to upgrade to a card system. We’ll see.
These are simple concepts that I hope you have experienced by now. If you have not yet taken the subway, get out there. What you may not yet be familiar with is the bus.
The only problem with the BSL and Market-Frankford Line is that they stop around midnight. In that case, you can take the bus. If you are coming from Center City, take the C-route, which makes the same stops as the BSL.
If you have the time, the busses are actually so much more enjoyable and get you to so many more places than the metro. A bus gives you not only a way of getting from here to there, but also lets you explore the city you live in. All you have to do is check the bus routes beforehand.
Other interesting forms of public transportation include the trolleys (green) that run from City Hall and branch out into West Philadelphia, the express train that stops along the BSL and gets you to the stadiums faster, and the Broad-Ridge spur, which takes you from Girard to Chinatown. If public transportation were pirate booty, this would be the hidden treasure.
Public transportation is truly one of the best parts of living in a city. Make sure to take advantage of it. God knows so many of us can’t afford cars anyway.
Matthew Flocco can be reached at email@example.com.