A bus is generally the cheapest option to reach Philadelphia, particularly when you are coming from New York City. New Jersey Transit stops at the Greyhound terminal and offers service between Philadelphia and Atlantic City and other New Jersey destinations. There is a Bolt Bus and Megabus stop adjacent to 30th Street Station, offering service to and from midtown Manhattan in New York City. Tickets are best purchased online prior to your trip.
Bolt Bus. boltbus.com.
New Jersey Transit. 973/275–5555; www.njtransit.com.
Buses make up the bulk of the SEPTA system, with more than 120 routes extending throughout the city and into the suburbs. Although the buses are comfortable and reliable, they should be used only when you're not in a hurry, as traffic on the city's major thoroughfares can add some time to your trip. The distinctive purple minibuses you see around Center City are SEPTA's convenience line for visitors, the PHLASH. The 22 stops run from the Philadelphia Museum of Art through Center City to Penn's Landing, stopping near high-profile destinations such as The Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Zoo, and Reading Terminal Market. Since a ride on the PHLASH costs $2 for a one-way ticket (seniors, SEPTA pass holders, and children four and under ride free), consider the all-day, unlimited-ride pass available for $5 per passenger. These buses typically run daily from 10 am to 6 pm. There's service every 15 minutes.
The base cash fare for subways, trolleys, and buses is $2.25, paid with exact change or a token. Transfers cost $1. Senior citizens with proof of age are permitted to ride free. Up to two children four or younger may ride free with each paying adult.
If you plan to travel extensively within Center City, consider a SEPTA pass. A one-day Convenience Pass costs $8 and is good for a total of eight rides on any SEPTA bus, trolley, or subway train, excluding regional rail. A one-day Independence Pass costs $12 and is good for 24 hours of unlimited use on all SEPTA vehicles within the city, including regional rail, the PHLASH bus, and the Airport Express train. Passes, as well as tokens, can be purchased both online and in the SEPTA sales offices, in the concourse below 15th and Market streets; in the Jefferson Station (10th and Market streets); and in 30th Street Station.
Philly PHLASH. 484/881–3574; www.phlvisitorcenter.com/tour/philly-phlash.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. 215/580–7800; www.septa.org.