Friday, August 17, 2012

Getting to our meetings on public transit

New Yorker Peter Rooney and I have had an ongoing discussion for some time about whether it's possible to get to our meetings by public transit. With the demise of New York's VFP user group, our Philadelphia group is the closest to the Big Apple. This month, with the strong incentive of Menachem Bazian's PHP session, Peter finally gave it a try. Here's his report:
Yes, I did it! I considered it an adventure and a proof of concept.

I'm coming from New York City. By Greyhound bus from Port Authority New York: 2pm - 4pm, $15.75 one way. You can schedule and buy/print the ticket online at .

Arrives Philadelphia, 11th St (Chinatown), across the street from the Septa Market East Station.

By express Septa train directly to Fort Washington. Leaves about 4:14, arrives 4:34. Cost round trip $10.50.

From the station, it might be walkable, but better to take bus #201 from a bus shelter near the station. Leaves about every 20 minutes. Cost $2.00,.

Arrives across the road from De Vry University about 5:40.

If the meeting goes to 9:30, there is a problem because the #201 bus stops running. at night, so it's not a way to get back to the Fort Washington Station. (and you wouldn't want to walk).

To get a taxi, call 877 711 8294, and figure about 20 minutes to be safe. Or maybe somebody can drive you to the station.

Trains from Fort Washington back to central Philadelphia leave at 38 minutes after the hour. A 9:38 train arrives at Market East Station at 10:10; a 10:38 train arrives at 11:10.

Unfortunately, the last bus from Philadelphia to NY leaves at 11:05. To get around that limitation, you can take the Septa to 30th St station, and catch another Septa train to Trenton NJ. Cost probably $5. Then from Trenton, take NJ Transit which runs about every 30 minutes, and costs about $7. It's pretty fast.

Total cost: about $50. Next time I'll rent a car, get a passenger, and see what that costs.
I'll add a couple of things. First, Bolt or Megabus may offer a cheaper alternative to Greyhound. Second, we have some members who drive in from central New Jersey each month; it may be possible to connect up with them to avoid having to go all the way to downtown Philadelphia. (In fact, Peter got a ride back to Hamilton, NJ, and used transit from there.) In any case, I'm delighted that Peter finally made it to one of our meetings and that he's willing to give it another try. If you're interested in being Peter's car passenger next time, post a reply here and I'll make sure he sees it.

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