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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia

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Getting around Philadelphia

Public transport

We have William Penn’s original grid street design to thank for Philadelphia's easy navigation. Center City spans just 25 blocks between two rivers – the Schuylkill River and the Delaware River. In between, the north/south streets are numbered and the east/west streets have tree names. Each neighbourhood is clearly signposted and colour coded.

Using public transport is just as easy - the subway system, street cars and buses provide a clean and reliable service. SEPTA (tel: +1 215 580 7800; www.septa.org) operates all interconnecting buses, streetcars, subway and commuter trains in the city. Operating hours vary and some bus routes operate all night. You can buy tickets from ticket booths and machines at the stations or on board (exact change required). Token discount packs are also available, as are daily and weekly passes.

The bright purple Phlash streetcar (www.phillyphlash.com) runs a continuous loop to the major attractions, from the Art Museum to Penn's Landing. Buses stop frequently at special Phlash lampposts and daily services operate from May to early September and late November to late December. Weekends-only services operate from late March to April and September to November. There is no service on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Between May and September, the RiverLink Ferry (tel: +1 215 629 3200; www.delawareriverwaterfront.com) provides a ferry service between Penn's Landing, Walnut Street and Columbus Boulevard in Philadelphia, and the New Jersey State Aquarium, Federal Street and Riverside Drive in Camden. You can buy tickets at dockside terminals.

Taxis

You can easily hail taxis in the street throughout Center City. Taxi companies offering a telephone service include Yellow Cab Co (tel: +1 215 333 3333) and Quaker City Cab (tel: +1 215 728 8000). Uber also operates in Philadelphia and provides pickup services from Philadelphia International Airport.

Driving

With such a compact city centre and good public transport, you really don't need a car. However if you do have one, there are many parking lots and garages in the city centre. On-street parking is also available in Center City but you should look at the posted signs for restrictions on when parking is allowed.

Car hire

The minimum age for car hire is generally 25 years but some companies will hire cars to drivers aged between 21 and 24 years for a steep additional charge. If you want to hire a car, you need a full national driving licence. Liability insurance is costly but necessary. It is a good idea to check with your insurance company or your credit card to see if it includes hire car liability.

Some of the major car hire companies are Alamo (tel: +1 833 338 3323; www.alamo.com), Avis (tel: +1 215 492 0900; www.avis.com) and Hertz (tel: +1 215 492 7205; www.hertz.com).

Bicycle hire

Indego (tel: +1 844 446 3346; www.rideindego.com) is Philadelphia's bikeshare scheme. Annual and 30-day memberships are available, but if you're only in town for a few days, you can pay per half hour.

Wheel Fun Rentals, 1 Boathouse Row (tel: +1 215 232 7778; www.wheelfunrentals.com), hires out a wide range of bikes including cruisers, tandems and kids' trailers.

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