Navigating Philly with SEPTA

My introduction to SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transportation system, was through a family member who worked there. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate the convenience of SEPTA, especially the Regional Railways. The one-hour train ride from Newark, Delaware to 30th Street Station soon became an integral part of my daily routine. Initially, I was drawn to its reliability and convenience, sparing me the hassles of city driving and parking.

My day begins with the 6:43 a.m. train departing from Newark Station, gently arriving at 30th Street Station by 8 a.m. Every morning, I’m welcomed by a stunning sunrise as I find my way to the “quiet car.” There, I relish a tranquil commute, either delving into readings or finishing assignments. My preferred route, the Newark to Center City line conveniently lands me a few blocks from the Drexel campus.

In comparison to Italian public transportation, SEPTA is a breath of fresh air. The trains are remarkably reliable, ensuring minimal wait times. However, unlike the informative signage you’d find on Italian trains, SEPTA trains rely on diligent announcements by crew members. You’ll need to pay close attention to know when your stop is approaching. For me, Penn Medicine’s announcement serves as my cue to prepare for my next move.

Tips for Traveling with SEPTA

  1. Get A SEPTA Keycard: If you’re planning to make SEPTA your daily companion, consider getting a SEPTA Key Card. These cards are not only affordable but also a breeze to reload. However, should you forget your Key Card, you can always purchase a ticket at the station kiosks or approach a helpful SEPTA crew member onboard.
  2. Download the SEPTA App: Personally, I find the SEPTA app incredibly handy. It offers real-time train schedules and notifies you of any delays or service updates.
  3. Sit In The Quiet Car: If you need a quiet place to work or read consider sitting in the first car on the train with three or more cars. Here there are no cellphone calls, device notifications, and loud conversions making it the perfect place for peace and quiet.

My initial confusion about SEPTA gradually shifted towards appreciation, especially after I got the hang of using the Key Card. While information about obtaining and reloading the card might be limited online, the SEPTA customer service team was a helpful guide in directing me to the right resources. Using the app to load money onto the card turned out to be quite straightforward.

SEPTA has transformed from an initially perplexing experience to an easy and affordable way to navigate the city. The Key Card, allowing access to trains, trolleys, and buses, has been a game-changer in my city exploration.

Coming Next Week

Join me next week as I explore some of the city’s free parks near the Drexel campus. There’s a world of green spaces and relaxation waiting to be discovered in the heart of Philadelphia.