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
• most public school districts provide transportation service
• Penn Charter provides private bus service
- 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?
- 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 pubic school busing?
- If there is a problem with my service, whom do I call?
- Guidelines for guest riders
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.)
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.
In the spring, the Business Office will email out a link 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.
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.
- 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?
Penn Charter currently operates private buses in Philadelphia and New Jersey.
In Philadelphia, we operate one trip each school morning, plus trips at 3:20 and 5:30 p.m. each afternoon.
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 p.m. daily.
Penn Charter offers a Center City pay-as-you-go shuttle in the morning and afternoon with GPS monitoring so families can track the bus to their stop. The Center City shuttle is open to PC students in all grades. The shuttle stops east of Broad St., at Broad St., west of Broad St., and at the Parkway. The following schedule is approximate and varies according to traffic and weather conditions.
The cost of the shuttle service is $10 for each trip. To ride the shuttle, space must be reserved on School-Pass, a free smartphone app. Tickets may be purchased from the School Store and presented to the driver upon boarding. Tickets are sold in quantities of ten for $100. Departures are coordinated with the Lower School Enrichment and After-School programs.
Yes, the 2018-19 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Is there public bus service to the school?
- Is there train service to the school?
- How will my child get to and from the station to PC?
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.
Penn Charter provides free shuttle service from the Queen Lane Train Station to PC in the morning and from PC to the station in the afternoon. Based on the current SEPTA rail times, the tentative schedule would be:
- Shuttle pickup at Queen Lane in the morning: 7:25, 7:40, 7:55 a.m.
- Shuttle leaving PC to Queen Lane in the afternoon: 3:20, 3:45, 4:25, 4:50, 5:20, 5:50, 6:22 p.m.
At the train station, the pick-up and drop-off location is on the inbound (Midvale Ave.) side of the station.
At Penn Charter, the morning drop-off is the bus lane between the Main Building and the Timmons House. The afternoon pick-up location is next to Dooney Fieldhouse.
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.