Public Transit options
Public transportation offers a convenient and easy alternative to gridlocked commutes and high gas prices. Compared to driving, public transit is less expensive, safer and better for the environment. It also significantly reduces traffic congestion, saves energy and benefits the communities it serves. It's the way millions of Americans commute to work every day. The use of public transportation is growing faster than both vehicle and airplane travel.
Public transportation is available in every county in Pennsylvania, with a wide range of services including:
- Fixed-route transit service in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, 21 small urban areas and 22 rural areas
- 44 systems offering shared-ride services in all Pennsylvania counties
- 13 intercity bus routes
- Keystone Corridor Amtrak service, running from Harrisburg to New York by way of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvanian Amtrak service running from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia
- 66 counties with rural transportation for persons with disabilities
More and more, Pennsylvania residents are relying on public transportation as a way to get to and from their workplace, doctor's office, shopping malls and recreational places.
Pennsylvania offers programs to make transportation accessible to everyone, including seniors and persons with disabilities. Learn about state-offered services.
Public Transportation Fact: People who ride public transportation can save, on average, $9,234 annually based on the March 23, 2016, national average gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.
Riding the bus is a favorite travel method for many people because it's an affordable, accessible and low-stress alternative to driving. Bus travel is also eco-friendly and getting greener all the time.
Fixed-Route Bus Service
Rural and urban fixed-route bus service is available in most of Pennsylvania. To find local bus service near you, check out the PennDOT Service Map.
Intercity Bus Services
The following public transportation agencies provide bus transportation to cities across the state.
For many commuters, there's no better way to travel than by train. Not only is rail a better value than driving, but it's also more relaxing, safer and better for the environment.
Rail is one of the most energy-efficient ways to travel, consuming about a fifth of the energy per passenger-mile as automobile travel. Electric-powered rail, common in regional commuter rail service, is most efficient, producing minimal air and noise pollution. Passenger rail is also a very safe mode of transportation. Travel on Amtrak, for example, is more than 26 times safer than travel by automobile.
Commuter rail benefits not only the people who use it, but the community as a whole. Cities with rail systems tend to have significantly higher public transit ridership, lower vehicle ownership, less traffic congestion, lower traffic death rates, and on average, people spend less money on transportation overall.
Regional rail systems link nearby towns and cities and are a popular way for people to commute between the suburbs and metropolitan areas. There are three providers of regional rail services in Pennsylvania: the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) and the Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO).
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) provides public transportation services in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, along with selected rail service to New Jersey and Delaware. In addition to regional rail, SEPTA services include bus, subway and trolley transportation.
Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC)
Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) provides public transportation services to a vast area of western Pennsylvania, including the City of Pittsburgh and all of Allegheny County. Transportation services include light rail, bus and mini-bus. Port Authority also sponsors ACCESS, the nation's largest paratransit program of its kind for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Port Authority Transit Corp.
The Port Authority Transit Corp. is owned and operated by the Delaware River Port Authority. It is a heavy rail subway/elevated line operating between Center City Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., and continuing to Lindenwold, N.J. It is one of only a few rapid transit lines in the world that operates a 24-hour service.
Keystone and Pennsylvanian Services
Amtrak's Keystone Service, supported by PennDOT, runs between New York City and Harrisburg by way of Philadelphia. The service provides frequent daily service, affordable fares, competitive trip times, comfortable seating and more. Learn about the stations along the Keystone Line and what PennDOT is doing to improve them and the communities they serve.
The Harrisburg Transportation Center is currently in the design phase to modernize and bring the station building to a state of good repair. The Section 4f document is available for review.
The Pennsylvanian Service runs between New York City and Pittsburgh by way of Philadelphia.
To see schedule times and purchase tickets, visit Amtrak's website and search for the station from which you want to depart.
PA Trips by Train offers discounted rail packages for popular attractions along the Keystone and Pennsylvanian services. Whether you're looking for a historical excursion in Philadelphia, a guided tour of PA Dutch Country, or would rather set your own schedule in the Big Apple or Pittsburgh, you'll find a package that fits your style. New excursions are added regularly, many that include deals specific to each destination — admission discounts to museums or concerts, restaurant savings, and free or discounted local transportation. And each of the packages includes a 40 percent discount (50 percent for kids!) on companion Amtrak fares so you can save on your journey while avoiding the hassles of traveling by car.
Other Amtrak Rail Services
Amtrak also operates approximately 120 daily trains through Pennsylvania, including Acela Express, Keystone and regional service. In addition, Amtrak operates the following long-distance trains through Pennsylvania:
The Capitol Limited (daily Washington-Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Chicago)
- The Cardinal (tri-weekly New York-Washington-Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago)
- The Crescent (daily New York-Atlanta-New Orleans)
- The Lake Shore Limited (daily New York/Boston-Albany-Chicago)
- The Palmetto (daily New York-Philadelphia-Savannah)
- The Silver Meteor (daily New York-Philadelphia-Miami)
- The Silver Star (daily New York-Philadelphia-Tampa-Miami)
Amtrak also operates the following shorter-distance trains through Pennsylvania:
The Carolinian (daily New York-Raleigh-Charlotte)
- The Vermonter (daily Washington, D.C.-St. Albans, Vermont)
In addition to Amtrak's intercity services, SEPTA and New Jersey Transit operate commuter services over the Amtrak-owned and operated Northeast Corridor and, in the case of SEPTA, over a portion of Amtrak's Harrisburg Line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. Amtrak provides electric traction power for SEPTA's operations over the Northeast Corridor and other lines owned by SEPTA.