By Matteo Iadonisi

When sight-seers travel to Camden, NJ, they visit landmarks like Adventure Aquarium or Campbell’s Field. But when Camden residents are the ones traveling, they have a reliable and affordable transit option just around the corner.

Transportation center
Walter Rand Transportation Center, where travelers get picked up by NJ Transit at the bus stop. – Photo by Matteo Iadonisi

Located at 100 South Broadway is the Walter Rand Transportation Center, a travel hub that provides access to a light rail, a rapid transit, and a bus stop. These trains include the River Line and PATCO, which travel to Trenton and Philadelphia respectively. The station boasts a 92.9 percent on-time rate according to the 2015 NJ Transit Annual Report. 

“The trains are neat and clean. The operators are nice,” said Larry Kitchens.

He frequents the Walter Rand Transportation Center once or twice a week to reach Trenton.

“It’s a lot cheaper than SEPTA,” said Jay Davis, who rides the light rail every other weekend to visit his parents. At $1.60 for a one-way adult ticket, it provides an affordable way to reach the city.

“The other way would be to take the Trenton line,” Davis added.

Depending on the route, a ticket for a SEPTA Line ranges from $3.50 to $10. Meanwhile, the PATCO line at Walter Rand charges merely $2.80 for a round trip to Philadelphia. 

The light rail functions with a “proof of payment” (POP) system. Instead of paying at the gate, all riders are required to have a “time stamped ticket” that is valid for a single one-way travel. The waiting platforms have kiosks called Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) to streamline the process. There are also monthly pass plans and discounts for seniors and children at Walter Rand.

“It’s the closest one to my house. It’s also the cheapest,” said Nick Brown, a student at Saint Peter’s University in northern New Jersey. “Can’t really beat it.”

River line
Walter Rand Transportation Center, where the River Line arrives after its trip from Trenton. – Photo by Matteo Iadonisi

Brown hops on the River Line to travel between home and school.

“I take it to get from my house, which is down in South Jersey, to Trenton, and then take a connecting train from Trenton to Jersey City,” he said.

Many riders take the train because they don’t own cars. A study showed that 41.1 percent of households in the area around the Transportation Center do not own a vehicle.

However, riders said the Transportation Center could still be improved. Larry Kitchens said there should be “more security personnel here.” 

Rita Kitchens agreed. She rides the River Line several times a week.

“There’s too many people here doing what they shouldn’t be doing,” she said. 

Tracks 1
Walter Rand Transportation Center, lined with light snow and pointing towards the Ben Franklin Bridge on the horizon. – Photo by Matteo Iadonisi

To improve the station and its trains, Nick Brown suggested they try “making them more modern” for a “better environment in general.”

Brown had some compliments to balance the criticisms.

“They do a pretty good job at keeping things on time and keeping the trains clean,” he said.

The station also offers amenities such as elevators, escalators, bike racks, and taxi accessibility. With the Philadelphia skyline visible across the river and with Trenton a couple bucks down the road, Walter Rand is an accessible and affordable way to travel without the burden of driving and parking.

Jay Davis summed it up: “for what I’m paying I don’t feel like I have any right to complain.”