Plane taking off from PHL Airport, Philadelphia Transportation

Plane taking off from PHL Airport; credit PHL



Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is a Top 10 Airport for flights to all major cities in North America, many in Europe and the Caribbean. It features plenty of restaurants, lounges, gift shops and traveler amenities. PHL-Downtown Rail Connection: from Center City, the SEPTA R1 Train leaves every 30 minutes from Market East Station, Suburban Station, and 30th Street Station to PHL Airport. PHL Airport Terminal Map

Car Rentals: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, and National provide service. Remember that some agencies require 72 hours notice for special arrangements. To reach downtown, exit PHL airport via signage that leads you to I-95 Freeway, north. Taxis: Diamond and Yellow taxis are plentiful at the ground transportation level. PHL to downtown costs a flat fee of $20. Shuttle service by Super Shuttle (800-258-3826) is also available.

30th Street Station Hall

The Great Hall in 30th Street Station, Philadelphia; (c) Soul Of America

Train Station

30th Street Station is a Neo-Classical, high-ceiling marble palace that features Pennsylvania and New Jersey commuter rail, heavy rail subways, light rail, buses, and Philly’s largest taxi depot. It is the workhorse of Philadelphia Transportation. Hosting 20,000 commuters daily, it’s a great place to people-watch and enjoy the food court and shops from 7a-8p, but trains arrive 24/7. Located a few minutes west of Center City, Philadelphia 30th Street Station hosts these Amtrak train routes:

Acela: DC-Baltimore-Philadelphia-Newark-NYC-Stamford-New Haven-Providence-Boston
Northeast Regional1: DC-Baltimore-Wilmington-Philadelphia-Newark-NYC-Stamford-New Haven-Providence-Boston
Northeast Regional2: DC-Baltimore-Wilmington-Philadelphia-Newark-NYC-Stamford-New Haven-Hartford-Springfield
Crescent: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Charlotte-Atlanta-New Orleans
Palmetto/Silver: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Richmond-Jacksonville-Miami
Carolinian: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte
Cardinal: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Cincinnati-Indy-Chicago
Vermonter: St Albans-Burlington-NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC

Amtrak Acela and Amtrak Northeast Regional trains run between New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington every 20-30 minutes. Other Amtrak trains go from NYC to Boston every 50-60 minutes. Coach class features comfortable seating with at least 39 inches of legroom, outlets for your laptop, complimentary WiFi, and extra storage space for luggage. Budget-minded travelers can take advantage of Amtrak Saver Fares and save when they book Coach seats 21 days or more in advance.

Northeast Regional Business class features even more extra legroom, extra Amtrak Guest Rewards Points an extra car dedicated to them, extra flexibility with an easily refundable ticket for those last-minute changes, reserved seating, and a complimentary beverage. Amtrak Crescent, Palmetto, Carolinian, Cardinal, Vermonter, and Capital Limited run once or twice daily.

In fall 2023, Nextgen Acela high-speed trains will run up to 160 mph in the Northeast Corridor on partially upgraded infrastructure and feature a better onboard experience. The same infrastructure will improve Amtrak Northeast Regional service too.

More infrastructure upgrades to the Northeast Corridor will unfold over 2026-35 that will increase train speed, frequency, and reliability. See Amtrak Acela progress towards world-class service.

SEPTA train to PHL Airport

SEPTA train between PHL Airport and 30th Street Station; credit GPTMC

Rapid Transit

SEPTA (South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), using 30th Street Station as a base, provides 108 miles of subway and elevated trains, 69 miles of light rail/streetcars. SEPTA commuter rail lines are extensive. Outside NYC Metro Area, SEPTA attracts the 3rd highest commuter rail ridership in America.

Unfortunately, SEPTA Metro Heavy Rail and Metro Light Rail lines leave a lot to be desired. Too many stations & trains need modernization. SEPTA and PATCO heavy rail systems don’t go to enough high-activity centers. Like Amtrak and other Metro systems in America, SEPTA was underfunded by federal and state governments.

The good news is new federal infrastructure funding has enabled SEPTA to begin 12-year program to electrify & modernize Metro and Commuter trains, increase train frequency, modernize SEPTA Metro Stations, expand SEPTA Metro Heavy rail, convert SEPTA Streetcars to Metro Light Rail, and expand ADA Accessibility at more stations. That said Just a Countertenor has a useful Youtube video expalining how to use SEPTA rapid transit system:

SEPTA’s Airport, Metro-Market, 30th Street, 69th Street, University City, and Eastwick stations are the busiest stations. SEPTA’s website features printable rail transit map for these transit lines: SEPTA RAIL SYSTEM MAP

The region is also served by PATCO Speedline commuter rail service from South Philly and Market Street in Center City to Camden and Lindenwold, NJ. 30th Street Station also features New Jersey Transit trains to Camden are frequent and relatively inexpensive. Trains to Atlantic City depart several times daily.

Since the federal infrastructure bill passed in 2021, SEPTA has activated projects for commuter rail, heavy rail, and streetcar-to-light rail conversions, and station upgrades. As projects complete over 2026-35 the combined SEPTA & PATCO rapid transit network should become a strong point of Philadelphia Transportation.


African American Heritage: Freedom’s Trail
DESCRIPTION: Retrace the trail of Black soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Underground Railroad via a self-guided, auto tour; sponsored by Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau
ADDRESS: 1000 First Avenue – Suite 101, King of Prussia, PA
PHONE: 610-834-1550

Phlash Bus
DESCRIPTION: Zip between hotels, shops and restaurants, historic sites, and museums via a convenient downtown shuttle to many popular visitor destinations: Art Museum, The Gallery, Old City, South Street, Penn’s Landing, Chinatown, Independence National Park, and Philadelphia Zoo; Ride all day for $4
ADDRESS: Route is from the waterfront west on Market Street, then around City Hall and up Ben Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and then on to the Please Touch Museum

Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour
DESCRIPTION: Self–guided tour book is free; call for trolley tour availability; special prices for commissioned guided tours; with more than 2,000 wall paintings, Philadelphia claims to be the mural capital of the United States
ADDRESS: tour begins at 1515 Arch Street
PHONE: 215-683-3689

Philadelphia Riverlink Ferry

RiverLink Ferry crosses the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden; credit GPTMC


RiverLink Ferry
DESCRIPTION: Ferry provides a 12-minute picturesque view of the Philadelphia skyline and colorful attractions in Camden; relaxing transportation across the Delaware River from Penn’s Landing to New Jersey State Aquarium; adults $4, children $3 for round trip.
DAYS & HOURS: daily from March 23 through November 30 from 9a-5:40p
ADDRESS: Penn’s Landing, Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street
PHONE: 800-634-4027

Cruise Philly
DESCRIPTION: The Cruise Terminal is located on Pier 1at the end of Broad Street in the Naval Business Center; Norwegian Majesty cruises to Bermuda, Canada and New England from here; the terminal building is 44,000 square feet with 30 check-in booths for cruise days and a lounge that seats up to 300 passengers; Taxis are popular whenever a ship is comes to port.
ADDRESS: 5100 South Broad Street, Building #3
PARKING: $15 per car
PHONE: 856-968-2052


Philadelphia Freeway Network has newer segments that are well designed, but Schuykill Expressway has too many sharp curves. Signage on the freeways often leave much to be desired. As a result, many drivers unnecessarily take slower boulevards to cover long distances or have difficulty finding entry ramps to freeways. But narrow streets cause many back-ups entering Center City. HOV lanes have been added to more freeways and bridge tolls across the Delaware River are reasonable for the distance covered. Note that I-295 New Jersey Turnpike is a Tollway.


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