How do I use SEPTA?


Honestly, Septa is so underrated and an affordable way to get around! I pretty much use Septa 4-5 times a week to get around since I have been exploring Philly more and want to escape the Penn bubble (even as far as Fishtown).

First, purchase a Septa Key (turquoise, plastic card) from the 40th Street Station (intersection of 40th Street and Market Street) or from the 34th Street Station (intersection of 34th Street and Market Street). You can use this card for all Septa options. You refill the cards at the kiosks (it's $2 per swipe). Check for all locations to purchase/reload your card here.

  1. The MFL (Market-Frankford Line) is the subway line that runs east to west across Philly. The two stops are the 40th street stop (past Winterfell and Distrito) or the 34th street stop (right next to the Wawa near NCH). You can use the MFL to get into Center City and basically anywhere East of Penn with the Eastbound side (read the sign before you go down the stairs!). You can also go into West Philly (look for Westbound). You generally have signal to use your smartphones in the subway.
  2. The trolleys are also quite useful. There are stations all across Penn's campus: at 40th & Baltimore, at Spruce & 37th (across from Upper Quad gate), at Sansom & 36th (near the ICA). Note, these stations might not have kiosks for you to refill you card (you scan when you get onto the trolley instead of through a turnstile), but Septa drivers are legally bound to let you onto the trolley even if you don't have enough money left on your card. You can still pay using coins/cash. Again be wary which direction you're going! If you're going into the city eastbound, any of the trolleys (11, 13, 34, 36) can take you there. Please check Google Maps before you go underground in case you're not sure which trolley to take. Remember to pull on the yellow line to request a stop and note that you can exit through the back door... don't hesitate like I did and panic when it didn't open... you just have to step down for it to detect you're there.
  3. The buses I haven't used as much, but just check Google Maps to see which lines you can use and where the stops are. You can wave to the driver to make sure they know to stop. They are generally on time and can be speedier/faster than waiting for an Uber.

I've heard the Septa app is pretty good (to check schedule/timing), but I haven't used it. Sometimes, Septa hasn't been as fast I'd hoped, but overall it's great and often faster than Ubering.

Wallowing Whale, April 7, 2019 1:25pm