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Take MARC To Philadelphia, Today?

$21.75 Commuter Train trip from Washington to Philadelphia and New York?

If you’ve seen the most recent weekday MARC Penn Line Schedule, you may have noticed some new language. Cryptic as it may be, this transit hieroglyph carries with it great meaning:

Cecil County Transit may not be on the average Washingtonian, Baltimorean, or Philadelphian’s radar, but they just did every passenger in the region a favor by closing one of two gaps of Amtrak’s North East Corridor not covered with vastly cheaper commuter rail service. The gap between Washington and Philadelphia is unlocked with a $2.00 Bus connection, from Perryville MD, MARC Commuter Rail’s northern terminus, to Newark, DE, SEPTA Regional Rail’s southern terminus.

Given the obscurity of the operator, and its unconventional timetable, we won’t be too surprised if many transit users aren’t aware of the option. So we’ve spelled out an abridged schedule for connections that can be made from major stops—not all of which were outlined in the MARC timetable (especially of note is the potentially useful 6:10 departure from Washington)! However, be wary of connection times in Newark DE, which can range from 5 minutes to over an hour.

MARC charges $13 from Washington to Perryville, and SEPTA’s fare from Newark all the way to Philadelphia is $6.75, bringing the total for a trip to $21.75. Know also that in Philadelphia, transfers can be made further by SEPTA to New Jersey, and onwards to New York.

The trip is not a short one, however it runs at rush hour, when busses may not be able to do much better. More importanly, these commuter trains are milk runs, and therefore cover a vast number of cities; from Monday through Friday, the entire mid-Atlantic coast is now finally connected by public transit, at a price that won’t change. Amtrak’s low bucket fare from Washington to Philadelphia is $39, twice the price, and last minute regional tickets can be more than $60, three times what this connection costs! It’s unlocked an interesting option for the region until we can really move into a modern age with a MARC extension to Delaware.

Until then, have a look at all potential connections, with MARC’s penn line weekday schedule, Cecil County Transit’s schedule for the #5 Bus, and SEPTA’s Newark/Wilmington line.

SEPTA Newark Line Weekday: https://www.septa.org/schedules/rail/pdf/nwk.pdf
Cecil County Transit Bus 5: http://www.ccgov.org/home/showdocument?id=29055
MARC Penn Line Weekday: https://mta.maryland.gov/sites/default/files/Penn_Weekday_Aug27_Grid.pdf

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