A fan’s guide to reaching PPL Park by public transportation

Since the day the Union first kicked off in 2010, I've been asked one question about the team more than any other.

It's not whether they're any good, or when their next home game is, or how to get tickets.

It's how to get to PPL Park.

Most of the people who've asked me that question live in Center City and its surrounding neighborhoods. They are soccer fans of many different backgrounds, mostly (but not all) young, and almost all of them don't have cars.

Even for those of you who do have cars, I know that many of you take the train to PPL Park because you'd like to have a drink (or more) before (or during, or after) a game.

This post aims to provide as many answers as possible.

Let's start with the easy stuff. The Union's website explains how to take SEPTA regional rail and the team-provided shuttle bus from the Chester Transportation Center to the stadium. The shuttle service starts four hours before kickoff.

The train schedule from SEPTA's website is here. Yes, it's technically effective on March 10, but from my experience it's still accurate for this weekend.

From what I've seen, the train is great for getting to PPL Park, but it's more of a challenge heading home. The Wilmington line doesn't run often on Saturday nights, and I've heard from many of you over the years that transfers at 30th Street or Suburban Station can be a challenge.

So here are some alternatives. They may be especially useful if you don't want to wait a long time for a train into Center City.

Note that these are just guides to potential alternatives to the train. They have varying fare structures based on how many suburban zones they cross, and I can't vouch for any of the neighborhoods they go through.

- The 37 bus runs once an hour to Broad and Snyder by way of the airport. It originates at the Chester Transportation Center, so you might be able to board the bus early and not have to wait outside.

Travel time to the airport is around 25 minutes. From there you can catch a regional rail train into the city, and that line runs every half hour. If you stay on the bus and take it to Broad and Snyder, the total ride lasts just under an hour.

- The 109 bus runs every 30 to 60 minutes (depending on what day of the week and how late it is) to 69th Street Terminal. Travel time is around 45 minutes. Stops along the way include the Swarthmore and Landsdowne regional rail stations.

- The 113 bus runs hourly to 69th Street going northbound and the Tri-State Mall in Claymont, Del., going southbound. This is the bus that stops right by PPL Park at 3rd and Flower Streets, under the Commodore Barry Bridge.

Although the bus stops at Chester Transportation Center every half hour, only half of the services - those closest to the top of the hour - go by PPL Park. It's about an hour to 69th Street once you're on board.

There are stops along the way at the Darby Transportation Center, which connects with the the MacDade Boulevard Route 102 trolley station (26 minutes from Chester); the Route 11 and Route 13 trolleys (31 minutes); and the Landsdowne regional rail station (37 minutes).

- The 114 bus runs hourly to Darby Transportation Center going eastbound and Granite Run Mall going westbound. Heading toward Darby, the route roughly parallels the Wilmington regional rail line, so it might not be worth much. But it does intersect with the Sharon Hill Route 102 trolley.

Travel time to Darby is around 25 minutes; travel time to Sharon Hill is a bit less than that.

- There are three other buses that run from into the Delaware County suburbs from Chester: the 117, 118 and 119. There are some connections to regional rail and trolley services.

- In addition to SEPTA buses, some bars and restaurants around the region run buses to PPL Park. You have to pay more for them than you would a SEPTA ticket, but sometimes you get perks (such as a drink) included. One of the better-known restaurant bus deals is run by Brauhaus Schmitz. Details are here.

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