Happy Independence Day, America! …that’s what we’ll be saying next week. And as per tradition, this important holiday wouldn’t be the same without fireworks. Though our region sees a bit of an exodus to the Jersey Shore, there’s still so much happening around Philly and the surrounding area (and psst… plenty of Perks, too), and fireworks are not left off of that list!
The skies will be lighting up at the Freedom Festival Fireworks at Wiggins Park over the Delaware River. And the best seats in the house are on our side of the river, at Penn's Landing or Spruce Street Harbor Park. Both offer prime riverfront views of the 2nd-annual fireworks show.
So of course you want to see fireworks. And the easiest way to get there (with no parking, hurrah!) is of course on SEPTA. The viewing festivities are a short walk from the 2nd Street Station on the Market-Frankford Line. Or even better, get dropped off directly at the action when you ride Bus Routes 12, 21, 33, 42 or 25.
Still have “bus nerves?” Fear not! We won’t allow that to impede your Independence Day. And so we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that explains exactly how SEPTA can get you there, and should answer any questions you may have along the way.
Which bus is right for me?
The Route 12 starts its route in Kingsessing at 50th and Woodland. It travels through Grays Ferry and Graduate Hospital, up through Center City to Columbus and Dock Streets, over the Delaware River.
The Route 21 covers ground spanning from 69th Street Transportation Center through to Penn’s Landing via Walnut and Chestnut Streets, passing through West Philadelphia, University City, and Center City, before reaching its final destination in Old City.
The Route 25 travels from the Columbus Commons up to the Frankford Transportation Center, passing the neighborhoods of Queen Village, Old City (where you would get off for Penn’s Landing), Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Port Richmond, and Frankford.
The Route 33 starts in North Philadelphia at 23rd and Venango, traveling south through Fairmount before heading East across the city to Penn’s Landing.
The Route 42 begins out in Wycombe, or at 61st and Pine Streets (check the schedule carefully – not every bus will go beyond 61st and Pine, but the schedule will indicate which ones do or don’t). This route travels through Spruce Hill and University City, then on the other side of the river, will use Chestnut Street to get to Penn’s Landing (on the reverse trip, it covers Center City on Walnut).
Where do I find my bus stop?
Since all of these buses have such different routes (that don’t all overlap), please refer to each route’s maps (the maps are linked above). Once you know your starting location, you can pick which bus is closest to you.
On the maps, you’ll notice directional arrows so you can tell in which direction the bus will be going along the route. The bus will stop on mostly every corner along the route – just look for the bus stop sign or bus shelter. If you don’t see one, walk to the next block along the route; you should find one there.
If you’re using our Trip Planner, select your bus, and then head to your closest bus stop listed in the directions.
Once you’ve found your bus stop, open your SEPTA App for Apple iOS or Android, and click on the Transit View. Select the route, and track where your bus is. Transit View updates every 3 minutes. If you tap the option bar in the upper right hand corner, you can view which color buses are heading in which direction.
If you’re already at the bus stop, you can get the next four scheduled trips texted to you by following these directions:
1. Open a new text message and type 'septa' and the STOP ID number (found on the SEPTA Bus Stop sign).
2. Send the text to 41411 3. Receive a return text with the next four scheduled trips
Remember: always board through the front of the bus. You can exit through the rear door if you choose.
How can I pay?
A detailed list of all of your fare options can be found here. If it’s a one-time bus ride, you can buy tokens at certain convenience stores, SEPTA Sales locations and Stations. The cost of a bus ride with a Token is $2.00. Tokens may only be purchased in packs of two or more. If you want to hop on the bus right away before buying tokens, you can pay $2.50 in exact change onboard.
This is a great opportunity to try out your SEPTA Key Card (or get one, if you haven’t yet)! You can find plenty of places to buy a Key Card here. You can add money to your Travel Wallet, which will be the same value as tokens. Then, just tap your Key Card at our red validators on the bus to pay.
If you already have a TransPass loaded onto your Key, you can use it on ALL bus, trolley, subway or Norristown High Speed Line trips, including this one. Just tap your Key on the validator. The same goes for a paper TransPass. If you’re a regular Rail rider, you’re in luck! A paper TrailPass will also allow you to ride on transit
If you’re just doing urban exploring, you can get a One-Day Convenience Pass for $8, and is valid for up to 8 bus rides in a single day (or 8 rides on any SEPTA Transit services).
If you also plan to include any Regional Rail travel in your trip, then the One-Day Independence Pass is for you. It’s only $12, and allows you unlimited one-day travel on all SEPTA services.
Also, if you have a TransPass, TrailPass, One-Day Independence Pass or SEPTA Key, you get SEPTA Pass Perks!
When do I pull the string to request my stop?
This festival is taking place on Penn’s Landing, which is easier for all of the bus-goers. All of these routes will stop their service on Penn’s Landing, so you can just take any of these buses to the end of the their line. Of course, if you still want to give the string a tug, that’s fine too.
Anything we didn’t cover?
If you still have questions, we have a short How-To video for you on our Destinations page. Simply scroll down below the Search Bar, and you’ll find our How-To videos, including How to Ride SEPTA Bus Routes.
…If you still have questions, well, we can help with that too. Our SEPTA Customer Service team is available through Twitter M-F (7a-7p) and on weekends (8a-6p). Tweet any questions at them and they’ll get back to you quickly with answers. If you don’t have Twitter, you can ask your questions with the Chat Now option. You can also reach them by phone at (215) 580-7800.
If your question isn’t urgent, you can email us at [email protected]
To make your travels easier, we recommend you download the SEPTA App. This helps with more than just your bus ride! Our App provides you with schedules, Transit View, Alerts, Pass Perks, and more. And it’s free.
Our buses are a great way to get to all of the corners of our city, so don’t be nervous! Remember, even the most seasoned rider had to once have their first solo-bus-ride, it’s just a matter of doing it.
Oh, and with so many celebrations throughout the city, some streets may be on detour. So check System Status or better yet - ask the Operator when you board.
Now you’re equipped with everything you need to know about riding the bus. So go catch your ride!