High Tide

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3 things to expect if you take NJ Transit’s express route to Cape May

I recently traveled on NJ Transit bus route 316, a seasonal express route between Philadelphia and Cape May. I’m a college student, so this isn’t my first experience with public transit, but I still had to ask questions. Here’s what you should expect if you take route 316 and some tips to make your trip easier. 

It’s easy to get confused. Know which route you’re taking and keep a constant lookout for the bus.

The NJ Transit app told me that bus 316 would be departing Cape May at 1:36 pm. I arrived at the bus station (Cape May Welcome Center) and walked into the building where I was greeted by a kind woman. I asked where bus 316 would be pulling in and where I was supposed to get on. The woman told me to walk down to the edge of the street near the stop sign five minutes before my bus departed in order to get on. 

I anxiously waited for it to be 1:31 p.m.  I think I checked the time on my phone once every twenty seconds. When it was finally time, I went where she’d told me but saw no bus in sight. I decided to take a deep breath and wait for a second. I saw a bus pulling up at 1:34, but it was route 319. Time to panic. I began walking back to double check where the bus would pull in. Across the parking lot, I noticed there was one parked. I walked over to see if it was 316, and it was! My adrenaline finally subsided. 

The bus driver was wonderful! He welcomed me onto the bus, and I paid $26 in cash for a ticket. I took my seat in the sixth row, and I was the only person to get onto the bus from Cape May. I put in my airpods and got ready for the ride. 

In all honesty, the entire process of finding the bus and looking at bus routes was extremely stressful. Make sure you know exactly which route and bus number you are taking, and look for yours throughout the entire Cape May Welcome Center. If I hadn’t ventured to the other side, I would have missed my bus. Keep in mind that very few people could be riding your bus that day, so you need to rely on yourself to be able to figure out the system. 

You’ll be comfortable, but bring activities to keep yourself occupied.

Once on board, I was able to lean my chair back and open my laptop. I was taking an online class, and began to take notes and watch lectures using my hotspot. The bus was not as noisy as one would think. It felt equally as loud as a normal car driving down the street. Similarly, it was not super bumpy or hard to type on my computer. 

The seats are typical bus seats—navy blue leather with the option to lean slightly back. They were kind of comfortable. I think if you were exhausted, you could take a nap on your trip. There were six stops before I arrived at my destination in Philadelphia. The bus driver was efficient and quick at each stop, and there were a total of eleven people on the bus ride. In total, the trip took one hour and forty seven minutes. You could easily sit and play on your phone scrolling through mindless memes on Instagram, Tik Tok, or Pinterest to pass the time, or lean back with your headphones and listen to music. 

Your personal space will remain yours.

Buses can be overcrowded. We’ve all seen movies and tv shows with people standing in the aisle, gripping the seats to hold on. The bus that I took only had eleven people…we each basically had our own entire row! I barely noticed the others on the bus. 

I asked the driver about this, unsure if this was common. Most of the time, he said he takes around eight to fifteen people to Philadelphia; he has never seen a full bus. 

Because of COVID, NJ Transit buses follow safety guidelines. Masks are to be worn on board, and people are expected to maintain a safe distance apart from each other. 

The bus is an effective means of getting to Cape May as well as traveling back home to Philadelphia, Atlantic City or New York. It is efficient, quick, and cheap. The seasonal 316 route runs during the summer. If you’re Philly-bound, you can exit at the Greyhound Station or JFK building. If you’re shore-bound, the final stop is the Cape May Welcome Center, which is within walking distance to the Washington Street Mall and many accommodations. Next time you’re struggling to find a ride, look into NJ Transit!

Tips for taking a bus from Cape May to Philadelphia 

  • Bring cash aboard the bus in order to pay for the ticket. 
  • Stand in the front of the Cape May Welcome building to be able to see every entry point for buses.
  • The NJ Transit App can be unreliable when purchasing a ticket, but it is useful in showing exact bus routes and times. It also allows discounts for children, students, and senior citizens.