Drexel’s main campus is compact, but all of Philadelphia is available for exploration. There are a multitude of ways to get around, but one thing’s for sure — cars are best left at home, because Drexel’s parking fees are killer. Rumor has it that the Philadelphia Parking Authority uses the Drexel campus as its training ground, so flouting the rules is risky. Why not try out the many alternatives?
One of Philadelphia’s most widely utilized facets of public transportation is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. For those accustomed to public transportation in New York, the SEPTA system will be a welcome reprieve. There’s only two subway lines: the Market-Frankford line (commonly called “the Blue line” or “the el”) goes mostly east-west, and the Broad Street line (Orange or “ahrange” or just “the subway” to differentiate it from the el) goes north-south. They’re supplemented by a network of trolley lines (green) running between City Hall and most of West Philadelphia — don’t confuse subterranean trolley stations with the subway. They also run underground.
SEPTA buses are a bit harder to make sense of, since the lines cross each other and the city grid, but go to major shopping malls and other areas not served by the subway. For travel closer to home, there is the “Lucy” loop around University City, but the University’s own buses are probably a better option.
For now, each SEPTA ride is paid for with a Philadelphia icon, the SEPTA token. A token costs $1.80, but paying cash costs $2.25, so it pays to stock up on tokens. There are token machines in the Creese Student Center and the 30th Street Station el stop. Drexel students can purchase a discounted unlimited monthly SEPTA pass, but frequent travel is required before this is a good option.
When things break down, just remember SEPTA’s slogan: “We’re getting there.”
Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania both have “shuttle buses” available to Drexel students for free with the presentation of their Drexel ID. Drexel’s shuttle buses go mostly toward the medical campuses in Center City and at Queen Lane, as well as to the Vidas Athletic Complex, but the Penn West line has broad coverage.
Philadelphia’s bikeshare program, Indego, is another flexible form of transportation available to Drexel students. The Indego bike share system allows a quick bike rental for short trips in Center City and West Philadelphia. Bikes are checked out and returned at Indego stations; there’s one in front of the Daskalakis Athletic Center, and one at the back of Drexel Park. At $4 per half hour ordinarily, a $15 per month subscription looks pretty appealing.
Last but not least is the Flintstone Mobile option. Although Philadelphia is a large city, most of the things worth seeing are in a pretty small area. A walk from Drexel to Independence Hall takes 30 minutes or so and passes by the major attractions. Invest in some comfortable walking shoes.