Commuting Guidance for the Class of 2017

Looking outside, you realize its spring.  Oh wait, it’s winter.  Oh wait, it’s spring again. The volatile weather may be a champagne problem, but it has spurred me to think about the best ways to commute from Rittenhouse Square to Huntsman Hall.  Below is the list from worst to best methods to make that 1.4 mile morning commute from 20th and Walnut to Wharton. The times are averages including the wait time for the mode of transportation.


The Worst:

The SEPTA bus on Walnut (Route 21 or 42)

Price: One token ($1.80) or $2.25 exact change, and it is better be exact

Time:  Assuming the bus is not full (and that is a big assumption) 14 minutes

Experience:  Just awful.  Buses are normally crowded.  If your stop is further west than 21st street, good luck getting the bus to stop. The 42 makes a turn on 34th, forcing you to make a final walk to Huntsman Hall.  The 21 goes up Walnut all the way to Huntsman.  I’ve regretted every single time I’ve gotten on one of these two buses.  Don’t fall in this trap.  Grab two other Wharton students and catch another mode of transportation.  It will be cheaper and better.  And you won’t be stopping every 100 meters.  So where do you get these antiquated tokens? Philly has a fascination for nostalgia, given that this city is proud of its history, Independence Hall!, Philly remains the only large metropolitan city with a token system.  There is a token machine in the atrium of the CVS in 34th and Walnut.  But forewarning, the token machine is frequently broken.


The Meh:

The Taxi

Price: $7.50, average

Time: 4 minutes

Experience:  If you are running late to class where you get marked a zero for attendance if you are late – grab a cab.  But you will fail if you try to hail a cab west of the Wannamaker.  The numerous cabs east of 21st allow you to avoid the bus.  Grab a group and make it cheaper than that terrible bus.


The Walk-and-Phone Chat

Price:  Free

Time:  28 minutes

Experience:  You are thinking about factors outside the Wharton bubble that interfere with the full immersion of the MBA program.  Unless it’s a pitch to Angels or VCs, use this time for the better.  Be sure not to collide unto others as you talk to your ex on your phone.


The Apartment Complex Transportation

Price: Too many variables

Time:  Too many variables

Experience:  Too many variables


The Better:

The Lyft/UberX

Price: $5

Time: 6 minutes

Experience:  You will make it to class on time.  All the uberX/Lyft drivers know that 37th and Walnut is the Wharton building.  Most drivers are pleasant to speak to and you can listen to your morning pump up music while you are stuck in traffic in Walnut Street.



Price: $15

Time: 5 minutes

Experience:  Really?  Do you need the extra comfort or flair to impress your friends?  Take this only if surge pricing makes it cheaper than UberX.


The Horse

Price: Free.  The Equestrian, Polo, and Agriculture clubs will be sponsoring horses in the fall semester

Time: 3 minutes if you are an experienced rider, 4 hours if you are inexperienced and factor the emergency room time

Experience:  Bumpy, but classy.


The Bicycle

Price: The marginal cost is zero, but the fixed upfront cost is around $150.  And pray your bicycle does not get stolen

Time: 4 minutes

Experience:   Get your heart rate up with some pre class exercise in dodging traffic and pedestrians.  Please don’t go hipster and get a fixed gear bike with no brakes.  That is a Graduate School of Design move; not a Wharton move.


The Best:

The Walk-and-Chat

Price: Free

Time: 25 minutes

Experience:  A great opportunity to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.  No need to set up a walking group, since you have a high probability of bumping to someone you know or are vaguely familiar with from a 1am dance floor.  Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone you do not know.  Chances are that well-dressed, attractive person also goes to Wharton.  One recommendation though; please no more than three abreast.  If you are too large group, you will block the faster walkers.


The Solo Walk

Price: Free

Time: 18 minutes if you step it out

Experience:  If you received less than a 3 on the extroversion scale, this is pretty awesome.  The walk will energize you and get rid of your sluggishness before class.  Think of your startup idea, club ideas, trip ideas, dinner ideas, or speech you are going to give in your communications class.


The SEPTA Trolley 

Price: One token or $2.25 exact change, and it better be exact

Time: 9 minutes

Experience:   Philadelphia has a trolley system?  Most students don’t know about this hidden gem.  The stops are on 19th and 22nd and market.  A trolley with plenty of passenger room comes every 45 seconds, thereby minimizing wait time.  This is clutch.   Just avoid getting on Trolley route number 10 and you are set, as every other route takes you to campus.  Get off at the 36th stop and make a pit stop at WAWA.   Then finish your walk to Huntsman.  While everyone else has 2nd floor café coffee, you got a smirk on your face, with your cheaper and better tasting coffee from WAWA.  The only downside is the use of the aforementioned tokens.


The Stay In Bed and Recover Move

Price:  An LT.  Don’t worry, you can accumulate plenty to no detriment

Time: 7 hours of extra sleep!

Experience:  You wake up, and realize you are hungover, and decide that you are not going to class.  The extra sleep will get you ready to for a small group dinner, pregame, birthday party, and dance party action later that night.  If you miss a lecture from the master performers, Emil Pitkin or Eric Bradlow, then it’s a poor decision.  If you miss a lecture from Corporate Finance, then it’s a wise decision.  This is the best finance school in the world and the finance lecturing is sadly less than desirable.   The current FNCE 611 lectures are equivalent to drinking Banker’s Club in the alleyway by the dumpsters on Ranstead Street.  With a few tweaks and we can be drinking Tito’s in Ranstead Room.  Seriously FNCE 611, up your game.

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