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Getting to and from Philadelphia

The easiest, but most expensive, way to access the city of Philadelphia is by regional rail. The SEPTA Media-Elwyn Regional Rail Station is located on-campus. Additionally, the city is accessible by bus, or by bicycle for the adventurous.

Regional Rail (30 mins)

The train schedule can be found on SEPTA's website or on the College's Dash.


Rail Fares to Philadelphia

(Fares based on Center City Stations: University City, 30th Street, Suburban, and Market East)


Evenings & Weekends

Buy a one-way ticket2 on-board the train using cash



Buy a one-way ticket at a station3



Buy a 10-trip ticket pack ($54.50) at a station3



Buy an Independence Pass4 on-board or at a station



1 4:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Monday through Friday

2There is no discount for round-trip tickets

3 Not available for purchase on-board. Swarthmore Station Hours: 5:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. | Monday through Friday

4 Allows for unlimited travel on SEPTA services for one day

Money-Saving Tips

  • Buy before you board: if at all possible, buy tickets before you board the train, especially because tickets you buy are valid for 180 days. With a little foresight, you save $4 on a Saturday in the city!
  • Fare credit program: sometimes, you just don’t get around buying your tickets beforehand, especially because the hours of operation of the Swarthmore station are inconvenient for many students. In these cases, save your receipt after paying on-board the train for one way of your journey. Take this receipt to the ticket office agent at your destination. The difference between the amount that you paid on the train and the amount that you would have paid at a station will be subtracted from the cost of your return ticket!
  • Use 10-trip tickets during weekday hours only: the individual price for a weekend/evening ticket is less than the per-ticket cost of a 10-trip ticket. If you get on a train and realize you only have weekday tickets, it is cheaper to pay the on-board price and utilize the fare credit program than to just use a 10-trip ticket.
  • If you ride SEPTA on a weekday but you have only an "evening and weekend" ticket, you can simply pay the difference (usually 75 cents) to the conductor.

By Bus

For directions to your destination in Philadelphia (or anywhere else that SEPTA serves), use Google Map's transit directions.

Standard bus (or trolley) fare

  • $2.25 or 1 token. If you are paying in cash, you must have exact change (if you do not have exact change, no change will be provided).
  • Sometimes you are required to pay upon boarding the bus and sometimes you are required to pay upon exiting. If you are not sure when to pay, please ask the bus driver.


  • Tokens can be purchased at the Swarthmore Regional Rail Station (remember: hours of operation are limited) at $1.80 each.
  • Tokens can be bought in packs of 2, 5, or 10 (there is no discount for buying more tokens).


  • In order to get a transfer, pay an extra dollar.
  • The bus driver will provide you with a slip of paper that serves as your proof of payment. Present it upon boarding to the bus driver of the bus you are transferring to.

By Bike (40+ mins)

Philadelphia, particularly West Philadelphia and University City are also accessible by bicycle. The Bicyclist's Baltimore Pike is a signed route along mainly side streets from Swarthmore the West Philadelphia, where it connects with bike lanes. The route contains hills and depending on one's fitness level, can be up to a one hour ride. Remember to ride safely and responsibly, and use a helmet!