Septa is an excellent way to get around Philadelphia. With a Regional Rail station right on campus, Center City and other great locations are open to you. Here are a few navigation tips for riding the Septa Regional Rail.
1. Plan to arrive at your destination at least an hour early.
Anyone who has taken Septa’s Regional Rail in any capacity knows that trains are constantly late. If you have a specific meeting time, let’s say 1:30, plan to take a train that arrives near your location at 12:30, especially if you have to walk or take a cab to your location. This gives you leeway if your train is late. If your train is on time, this will give you time to grab a quick bite to eat or just explore the city a bit. This is one of the most important tips for riding the Septa Regional Rail.
2. Look at the schedule for whatever train line you are taking carefully.
Not all trains stop at all stations on your line. Look at your schedule carefully to ensure that you are able to get to your destination. Figure this out, even before setting a specific meeting time. If you are planning to meet up in Center City or are getting off at Temple for class, all trains go to all Center City stops (Temple, Jefferson, Suburban), but check your schedule for going home. These tips for riding the Septa Regional Rail will make your commute that much smoother.
3. Buy your ticket at a station if possible.
This is true if you do not get the semester pass that Temple offers. If the station you are getting on at has a ticket booth, buy your ticket there. If not, try to drive to a station that does, at least monthly to get a monthly pass. If you buy your tickets on the train, they are more expensive than if you buy them at a booth. Daily Independence Passes, that allow you to use all Septa vehicles and others, is the same price either way.
4. Keep your seat next to you clear.
People pay to be able to sit on the train and are annoyed when they have to stand. Do not make this worse by having your gazillion bags on the seat next to you. Use the overhead racks if you need since that is what they are there for. Also, out of courtesy and respect, offer your seat to those who are older than you.
5. Wear deodorant, but do not go overboard.
Nobody likes sitting next to someone who has excessive body odor, especially if they are stuck sitting with no relief in sight. It is the worst. However, wearing too much deodorant or other BO-reducing aid can be just as mortifying. Find a balance between smelling terrible and going overboard with the good scent. This will make everybody more comfortable.
6. Arrive the station at least ten minutes before your train is set to depart.
There is nothing worse than having to run to get on the train you need to catch. If you drove yourself to the station, you will need to pay for parking, which can take a few minutes, depending on how busy it is. If you need to buy your ticket at the station (since it is cheaper), that will add a few minutes, though there is still the option to buy on the train. It is better to err on the early side.
7. Do not eat full meals on the trains.
Bringing snacks and drinks with lids (hello, morning coffee) is acceptable, but do not bring a full meal and eat it on the train. You never know who may be highly allergic to something you have to eat and it is better to err on the side of caution so no one gets sick. Either wake up in time to eat at home or wait to eat when you reach your destination.
8. Pay attention to where you are so you do not miss your stop.
Regular riders know when their stop is so they may use their commute to take a nap. However, if you are not as familiar, try to avoid falling asleep. Many conductors will announce the stops, but some do not. It is a good idea to look out the window to see the station signs and to know what the few stops before your stop are so you are aware of how much time you have left. If you remember just one of these tips for riding the Septa Regional Rail, make it this one.
9. Be nice to conductors and other passengers.
You may not be the biggest morning or you may have had a rough day. It happens. But you are not the only one who experiences these things. Be nice to those around you and do not take your frustration out on your conductor and fellow passengers. They are likely fighting their own frustrations from the day and being mean is making their situation worse.
10. If someone is sitting next to you with headphones on, do not disturb them unless necessary.
If your stop is before theirs or if there is an emergency, sure, go ahead and alert them or ask them about your question. Otherwise, wait for your conductor and do not disturb the person wearing headphones. Sure, it is nice to talk to people, but people like listening to their music, especially early in the morning or after a hard day at work.