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3 College Freshman

Transportation: The train is a pretty integral part of the campus and makes for easy traveling for breaks.

5 College Freshman

Transportation: Train right on campus with Philly only 20 min away.

4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Easy Access to Philadelphia! There's a free campus shuttle that runs regularly to Mary Lyon, the off-campus dorms.
There are also free college-run shuttles to Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday nights which are out later than SEPTA (the local commuter line train to Philadelphia).
There is a SEPTA train to Philadelphia at the bottom of campus that has trains to Philadelphia running every half-hour, and you can get into the city within 20 minutes - and once you're in Philadelphia you can easily get to New York or Washington DC.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Transportation: Free Shuttles, Bus, and Train – There are free shuttles that run to the movie theater, shopping mall, and Philly. Many students take the train, which is moderately expensive ($10 to get to Philly and back). The bus is a slightly cheaper option and also accessible option, although they tend to run around 10 minutes late.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Transportation: Public All the Way – If you need to get somewhere, chances are that public transportation can get you there. Things like the Bluebus transport students from the Tri-Co colleges (Swarth, Haverford, Bryn Mawr). If you want to get into Philly, use Septa. If you want to go to the movies or Target or something, use the shuttle vans provided on campus.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

View student contributors

Since most students don’t have cars on campus, they must find other ways of getting around. Usually, this means using SEPTA, the public transportation authority in Philadelphia. There are two bus stations and a train station on campus, so riding is pretty convenient. However, SEPTA can be a little expensive for the average college student, particularly the train, and the trains stop running around 11:30 p.m. Buses are less expensive and run almost all the time but don’t always deliver students directly to Center City.

Free campus shuttles take students to off-campus dorms, stores along Baltimore Pike, a movie theater, downtown Philly, and Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Most students agree that the shuttles are reliable but don’t run often enough. Most shuttles are driven by students, sometimes creating problems with unreliability, but nonetheless, they remain the cheapest way to get around Swarthmore and the surrounding area. More unreliable than the student drivers themselves are the shuttle vans. They tend to magically not work a lot of times and can cause frustration to many. However, a new shuttle to King of Prussia Mall was just created.

Facts & Statistics

Best Ways to Get Around Town
  • Find a friend with a car
  • Philly shuttle
  • Walk
Best Ways to Get to the Airport
Take the R3 SEPTA line from the Swarthmore station to the University City stop. From there, take the R1 train that runs directly to the airport. This costs about $7 each way. Better yet, take Swarthmore's airport shuttle that runs during most school breaks for a minimal fee.
Did You Know?
To become a student van driver, you have to get van certified. If you are van certified and don't have a car on campus, you can rent a van from the College to get to places downtown at any hour, even late at night. So, basically, students who are van certified practically have a car on campus.

Safety Escort ServicesWhat's This?

Public Safety Escort Services
(610) 328-8281
Daily 24 hours

Campus ShuttleWhat's This?

Movie & Target Shuttle

Runs to Marple AMC Movie Theater and Target.

Friday-Saturday 7 p.m.-1 a.m. (movies)

Sunday and Tuesday 7 p.m.-9 p.m. (Target)

Philly Shuttle

Stops/pick-ups at Electric Factory, Chinatown, Ritz Movie Theater, and South Street.

Weekends leaving at 6:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 10:45 p.m., 12:30 a.m.

Tri-College Vans (Tri-Co)

Will pick up and drop off at Swarthmore College in front of Parrish Hall. After 7 p.m., vans will pick-up and drop-off in the Bond Parking Lot. Tri-Co vans pick up and drop off at Bryn Mawr's Pembroke Arch only.

(610) 526-7570

Hours vary daily, but generally run between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Chester Shuttle

Runs from Parrish Circle to community-service sites.

Monday-Thursday 3 p.m.-6 p.m.

Evening Campus Shuttle

Runs on a 10- or 20-minutes basis.

(610) 328-8281

Daily 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

Morning Campus Shuttle

Runs every 15 minutes between Mary Lyon, Strath Haven, and PPR dorms.

(610) 328-8281

Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Saturday 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Public TransitWhat's This?

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

There is a station at the foot of campus.

(215) 580-7800

1234 Market St., Philadelphia

Nearest AirportWhat's This?

Philadelphia International Airport

The airport is about 10 miles from campus. It takes about 15 minutes to get there by car.

(215) 937-6937

Nearest Passenger BusWhat's This?


The Greyhound station is in downtown Philadelphia, right across from the Market East Station. Take R3 from Swarthmore to the Market East Station stop. For schedule information, call (800) 231-2222.

1001 Filbert St., Philadelphia

(215) 913-4075

Nearest Passenger TrainWhat's This?

Amtrak 30th Street Station

The 30th Street station is in downtown Philadelphia. Take the R3 from Swarthmore to the 30th Street Station stop. For schedule information, call (800) 872-7245.

30th and Market Streets, Philadelphia

(215) 349-2222

Student Polls

How convenient is the campus-provided transportation?    Based on 23 responses

  • 35% Easily accessible, runs frequently and has many pick-up locations.
  • 48% Somewhat accessible with a schedule that usually parallels class times.
  • 9% Moderately difficult to utilize, the pick-up times and locations are far and few between.
  • 4% Extremely difficult to utilize-it's not reliable nor is it convenient for a student's schedule.
  • 4% Nonexistent.

How necessary is it to have a car on campus?    Based on 23 responses

  • 9% Campus is isolated, so students rely mostly on cars to get them where they need to go.
  • 4% The shuttle/bus service often fails to meet student needs, so a car is very practical.
  • 57% Students usually walk or take the bus, but cars are nice for venturing outside the bus line.
  • 26% Cars are totally pointless. Everything you need is within walking distance.
  • 4% You can't have a car here.

Rate the cost of the following transit options    Based on 9 responses

  • Campus shuttle
  • Public transportation
  • Taxis
  • Zip cars

Rate the convenience of the following transit options    Based on 10 responses

Very convenient
  • Campus shuttle
  • Public transportation
  • Taxis
  • Zip cars

Rate the convenience of long-distance transportation to travel between home and school    Based on 10 responses

Very convenient
  • Airport
  • Passenger bus
  • Passenger train
  • Ride sharing

How easy is it to get around town?    Based on 24 responses

  • 54% Very easy.
  • 29% Fairly easy.
  • 12% Fairly difficult.
  • 4% Very difficult.
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