Transportation

The 47-acre Penn Charter campus in Philadelphia's East Falls neighborhood is easy to reach for families in Center City, Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, the Northeast, as well as Montgomery County, Delaware County and, in New Jersey, Camden County and Gloucester County.

Students come to Penn Charter in a variety of ways:

• students walk, bike, and ride Septa buses or regional trains
parents drive individually and in carpools
• students with licenses drive to school and park on campus
• some public school districts provide transportation service
• Penn Charter provides private bus service

Driving
Where do I drop my child off if I drive?
Where can I pick my child up?
If my child drives him/herself, where will they park?
I might want to try carpooling. How would I know whom to call?

Public School Busing
Is my child eligible for public school transportation?
I live in Philadelphia. Is my child eligible?
I live in the suburbs. Is my child eligible?
What level of service is provided by the public schools?
These buses are fine in the morning, but my child plays sports after school. Are there other options?
How do I find out about the public school service?
Do we pay for public school busing?
If there is a problem with my service, whom do I call?
Guest Bus Riders


Penn Charter Buses
What bus service does Penn Charter provide?
Do we pay for Penn Charter bus service?
Which areas do the Penn Charter buses serve?
Is my child eligible for Penn Charter transportation?
Is door to door service available?
Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?
Are there other advantages to Penn Charter’s service?

Public Transportation Options
Is there public bus service to the school?
Is there Regional Rail service to the school?

Other Options
Are there options that can be customized for my family's specific needs?

Questions?
I have other questions. Whom do I ask?

Driving

Where do I drop my child off if I drive?
We have two drop-off locations, one off School House Lane, and one off Fox Street. There is also visitor parking off the School House Lane entrance. Both drop-off areas are adjacent to the Lower School and are staffed by Penn Charter personnel at arrival and dismissal.

Where can I pick my child up?
Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students may be picked up in their classrooms. Students in grades 2 through 5 assemble in an area of the Lower School lobby for pick-up; parents may park, if parking is available, or may line up for pick-up.

If my child drives him/herself, where will they park?
There is designated parking available for seniors in the Fox Street lot. Students may not park in numbered or visitor-designated spaces anywhere on campus, at any time. Other students may park on public streets. Students should be mindful to not block our neighbors' driveways. 

I might want to try carpooling. How would I know whom to call?
The Penn Charter Community Directory includes all families by zip code, so parents looking to carpool can reach out to families in close proximity. Carpooling is a terrific way to build community and friendships.

Public School Busing

Is my child eligible for public school transportation?
All public school districts are required by law to provide transportation services to private schools within 10 miles of their district. The level of service must be equivalent to the service provided to the public school students.

I live in Philadelphia. Is my child eligible?

For students living in Philadelphia, service generally covers grades 1 through 8 by school bus; students in grades 9 through 12 are eligible for a SEPTA bus pass.

I live in the suburbs. Is my child eligible? 
In suburban districts that are within the 10-mile range of Penn Charter, the service usually covers all grades except pre-K, although kindergarten is treated differently in some districts. We currently have buses serving Penn Charter from Abington, Cheltenham, Colonial, Haverford, Lower Merion, Lower Moreland, Marple Newtown, Radnor, Springfield (Montgomery County), Upper Darby, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion, Upper Moreland, William Penn and Wisshahickon school districts. There is no public school service from New Jersey. 

(Note about Main Line buses: Lower Merion sends a bus directly to Penn Charter that leaves the Penn Valley Elementary School by 7:20 a.m. Parents are welcome to bring their children directly to the bus, rather than have them picked up at their home.)

What level of service is provided by the public schools?

All students are taken to school in the morning. This may involve a transfer between buses within the public school district with the exception of Philadelphia County. Students are dropped off on our bus lane on campus. All buses are met by a Penn Charter staff member. In the afternoon, Lower School students are escorted to the bus lane. Public school buses only pick students up at school dismissal, not after sports.

These buses are fine in the morning, but my child plays sports after school. Are there other options?
Penn Charter provides private bus service, which offers 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. departures. See below.

 
How do I find out about the public school service?
In the spring, the Business Office will mail out a form where you may request public school busing service. Penn Charter will process the information with your school district in June. We will notify you if there is a problem. You will be notified in August, either by Penn Charter or your school district, of your stop location and times for pick-up and drop-off.

Do we pay for pubic school busing?
No.

If there is a problem with my service, whom do I call?

In most cases, the Business Office will coordinate with your school district. 

Guidelines for Guest Riders
If your child is registered as a rider on a district bus, he or she may exit the bus with a friend at the friend's stop, provided the friend is also registered on that same bus route. However, both students must bring a note, from their caregiver, to be given to their Division Office. The notes will then be given to Transportation with the daily attendance sheet and finally to the bus driver for the afternoon trip home. If your child is registered to ride a public school district township bus and would like to bring a friend home, the friend must live in the same township and be registered to ride that bus. Permission notes will not be accepted under any circumstances unless both students are residents of the township. 

Penn Charter Buses

What bus service does Penn Charter provide?

Penn Charter currently operates bus routes in Philadelphia. There is also a bus route to New Jersey. We operate one trip each school morning and trips at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. each afternoon in Pennsylvania. The early New Jersey bus leaves at 3:05 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday and at 3:25 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The late New Jersey bus leaves at 6:00 p.m. daily.

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, Penn Charter offers a Center City pay-as-you-go shuttle in the morning and afternoon with stops east of Broad St., at Broad St., west of Broad St., and at the Parkway.  The bus leaves Head House Square at 7:10am and makes the Parkway stop around 7:30; returning, there are departures at 3:30pm and 4:45pm. The cost of the shuttle service is $10 for each trip; parents reserve space online, and use a GPS tracking tool to monitor the progress of the bus to their stop.

Do we pay for Penn Charter bus service?
Yes, the 2016-17 annual rates for routes operating in Pennsylvania are $5,175 for round trip service and $3,240 for a.m. or p.m. service. The rates for the routes operating in New Jersey are $6,135 and $3,795 respectively. Rates for a single semester are half that of a full year and we provide a 10 percent discount for each additional student from the same family. The rates generally rise slightly each year. There is no financial aid available for this service. Parents must sign a contract with the school for this service.

Which areas do the Penn Charter buses serve?
We serve several areas in Philadelphia, including Center City. In New Jersey, the service is generally limited to areas near Cherry Hill and Voorhees. There is also a shuttle to and from the Queen Lane train station.

Is my child eligible for Penn Charter transportation?
All students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 are eligible for the service. We are limited, however, to the amount of territory that our buses can cover. In some cases, you may be required to meet our buses at a safe location.

Is door-to-door service available?
Penn Charter is able to provide door-to-door service for many students. Our bus operations staff determines, in August, which students may be picked up at their home and which students will be required to meet the bus. Parents are notified of the schedule before school begins. If we cannot provide door-to-door service, and cannot find a suitable alternative meeting place, you may withdraw your contract before school starts.

Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?
Guest riders may ride a Penn Charter private bus for an additional fee of $20.00 per trip. Both the contract student and guest rider must each provide a written permission slip to the bus driver for each trip request. Penn Charter bus drivers are only permitted to provide transportation to stops for which there is a signed contract.

Are there other advantages to Penn Charter’s service?
Yes. Each bus operator carries a cell phone for emergencies and important contact with parents. Parents have access to those bus operator phone numbers for emergencies. Students have the option, in the afternoon, of taking an early or late bus depending on their schedule. Our operators are all extensively trained and certified for operating school buses.

Public Transportation Options

Is there public bus service to the school?
SEPTA operates several bus routes within a few blocks of the school. You may contact SEPTA at 215-580-7800 or at www.septa.org for details.

Is there train service to the school?
SEPTA operates two Regional Rail lines within a 10-minute walk to the school.
• The Chestnut Hill West Line serves Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Germantown and Center City. The line station nearest to the school is Queen Lane Station at Wissahickon and Midvale Avenues. We offer AM and PM shuttle service from the Queen Lane station to Penn Charter: details.
• The Norristown line serves Norristown, Conshohocken, Roxborough, Manayunk and Center City. The line station nearest to the school is the East Falls station near Midvale and Conrad Avenues.

Other Options

Are there options that can be customized to my family's specific needs?
Riders' Club connects private drivers operating their own vehicles with families looking for daily or occasional rides. The drivers are not employed by Riders’ Club, but the club conducts a background check and insurance verification. Families would contract individually with Riders’ Club for the service. The current non-refundable membership fee is $79 annually, plus a trip cost based on mileage. Penn Charter gives families a $50 credit toward that cost; we will deduct the $50 credit from your bill upon receipt of proof of payment. This is necessary so that families can deal directly with Riders’ Club and so that the school is not liable for unpaid bills. If you're interested in knowing more about Riders' Club, as you plan for next year, call 215-836-1376.

Questions

I have other questions. Whom do I ask?
Please call the Business Office at 215-844-3460. We will be happy to assist you. 

 

Penn Charter draws families from more than 105 zip codes in metropolitan Philadelphia. View the map and zip code data.

Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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