By American standards the Philadelphia area has an excellent public transport system with buses, trams, subway and suburban trains. Most services are operated by SEPTA, but some services (especially to suburbs in New Jersey) are run by NJ Transit and PATCO.
SEPTA has 121 bus routes in Philadelphia, which are a handy way to get to areas not served by the subway. A single cash fare is $2, but tokens are a cheaper option (10 tokens for $14.50). A one-day Convenience Pass (which can be used for up to eight trips on SEPTA buses, trams and the subway) costs $6.
NJ Transit buses go to the suburbs in New Jersey. Most NJ Transit buses stop at the Greyhound Terminal (1001 Filbert Street, Philadelphia; subway 11th Street, train Market East).
SEPTA operates two subway lines, plus the Surface Subway line with trams that run on the street in the suburbs and underground through the city centre. This is supplemented by the PATCO subway line that goes to New Jersey.
The two main lines are the Market–Frankford Line (running between 69th Street west of the city centre and Frankford northeast of the city centre. The Broad Street line runs north-south from Fern Rock (north of the city centre) and Pattison (south of the city centre). These two lines are supplemented by the Subway-Surface line running parallel to the Market-Frankford line in Center City Philadelphia with additional stops at 19th and 22nd Streets. Free transfers between the subway lines are only available at 30th Street, 15th Street/City Hall and 13th Street.
A single cash fare on the SEPTA subway is $2, but tokens are a cheaper option (10 tokens for $14.50). A one-day Convenience Pass (which can be used for up to eight trips on SEPTA buses, trams and the subway) costs $6.
The PATCO Speedline is a separate subway system primarily designed to ferry commuters between Center City Philadelphia and the suburbs in southern New Jersey. There are four conveniently located stations in the city centre and many people use it to get around the city but it is not a SEPTA service so SEPTA tokens and passes are not valid. Fares within City Center Philadelphia are $1.15 but travel to New Jersey can cost up to $2.45 depending on the distance travelled.
There are several tram routes (called trolleys in Philadelphia or streetcars by other Americans visiting the city) that run in Philadelphia and its suburbs.
Lines 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 run in a subway tunnel in the city centre but above ground they operate along the street like a regular tram. Collectively they are known as the Subway–Surface Line and the underground portion between 37th/Spruce and Juniper appears on subway maps as a third subway line.
Route 100 (also known as the Norristown High-Speed Line) is a light rail line that runs between Upper Darby and Norristown in the western suburbs.
A single cash fare is $2, but tokens are a cheaper option (10 tokens for $14.50). A one-day Convenience Pass (which can be used for up to eight trips on SEPTA buses, trams and the subway) costs $6.
The River Line is a light rail system across the river in the New Jersey suburbs that connects Camden with Trenton. It is run by NJ Transit so you can’t use SEPTA tokens or passes. The base fare is $1.35.
SEPTA’s Regional Rail network covers a large part of Greater Philadelphia and extends as far as Trenton, New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware. Most travellers will take one of these trains if they are going to the airport or if they need to transfer to NJ Transit trains (to New York City and many areas of New Jersey) at Trenton.
Fares are calculated depending on the distance travelled and cost between $3.50 and $9.