The city of Philadelphia requires that tour companies operating buses carrying 55 passengers or more apply for and receive a permit from the city’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability. The permit request should include a proposed route the operator will take. The review process generally takes about 30 days. Permit requests can be directed to: The Chief Traffic Engineer, Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19102, 215-686-9003, email@example.com.
The city also recommends that operators transport on routes with few or no residencies, including main arterial roads such as Walnut, Chestnut and Market streets. Once a route is submitted, a test route will be run to identify possible traffic bottlenecks and safety concerns.
All buses, motor coaches and tour buses are prohibited from parking on city streets. Buses can only stop for loading/unloading purposes at designated locations specific to Philadelphia’s major attractions. Instead, operators will find parking at two suggested parking facilities detailed below.
Campus Park and Ride, Warfield Street off Interstate 76 near 34th Street, offers easy access to I-76 and includes showers, restrooms and a shuttle to 34th and Spruce Street. Cost is $15 per day or $20 overnight. The parking area is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 215-413-2300.
The facility is convenient to attractions such as The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Art Museum, Rodin Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences, Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia Zoo and University City. It also is the only RV parking facility in the city.
Callowhill Bus Center, on Callowhill Street between Front and Second streets, offers 43 secured spaces and an air-conditioned waiting area with bathrooms and showers, televisions, sleeping lounges and vending machines. Coupons and delivery from local restaurants are also available. Drivers are not able to stay in the facility overnight. The daily parking rate is $20 per bus with in and out privileges. Overnight parking is an additional $10 per bus. Reservations for overnight parking should be made before 5 p.m. by calling 215-925-3706. The parking area is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The facility is run by DLC Parking, which can be reached at 215-546-1706 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Independence Transportation Center is next to the National Constitution Center and offers easy access to Independence National Historical Park. There are 11 spots for loading and unloading and drivers can access via Race Street between 5th and 6th Streets. There are also three adjacent locations on Race Street that can be used for loading and unloading. Motorcoaches have 10 to 15 minutes to load or unload. Callowhill Bus Center is about one mile away.
Attractions within the Historic District with specific pick-up/drop-off locations include:
Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd St.: The designated bus unloading and loading zone is in front of the museum in the right-hand lane on S. 3rd Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets.
The National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East: buses may drop passengers off outside the main entrance on the south side of Market Street at the corner of 5th Street.
Christ Church, 20 N. American Street: Buses can load and unload passengers in the front of the church on Second Street, between Arch and Market Streets.
Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St.: Drop off and pick up is allowed on Arch Street, between 2nd and 3rd Streets.
City Tavern, 138 S. 2nd St.: Drop off just north of entrance on S. 2nd St. near Walnut Street.
Coaches arriving at the museums on and near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway should use the pick-up/drop-off locations detailed below. Either bus parking facility is easily reached from the Parkway area.
The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St.: in front of the museum on the west side of 20th Street. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway: Buses can pick up and drop off passengers at the driveway of the west entrance.
Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkwa: Buses can drop off and unload passengers in front of the museum on the north side of Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway: Buses can discharge and board passengers on the side of the museum on 19th Street.
The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway: The designated pick up/drop off location is on Pennsylvania Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets. (GPS: 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130).
Other popular attractions with designated pick-up/drop-off zones include:
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street: Drop off and pick up is in front of the museum on the south side of South Street.
Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic: Passengers can be loaded/unloaded on the west side of the museum on 21st Street.
Mutter Museum, 19 S. 22nd Street: Buses can drop off and pick up passengers in front the museum’s entrance on S. 22nd Street
One Liberty Observation Deck, 1650 Market Street: Buses can unload and load passengers at 1650 Market Street in front of the Plaza.
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street: Buses can pick up and drop off passengers at the Kress entrance, which can be accessed via the driveway on the east side of the museum off Convention Avenue, south of South Street, just past the entrance to Lot 7. This driveway is directly across from the SEPTA University City Regional Rail Station.
Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street: The Convention Center has entrances on Arch, N. Broad and Market Streets. The preferred pick-up/drop-off location is on N. Broad Street at Cherry Street.
Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th Street: Passenger drop-off/pick-up is easiest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.