If you want to travel in and from State College, there are many options in various price ranges.
State College is served by CATA buses that offer an incredibly good deal for graduate students (since fall 2014): for just 5 USD per month you can use as many buses as you like. This is not only much cheaper than the 1.75 USD per ride, but also more convenient because you don’t need to have exact change, but just swipe your Ride for Five card. You can apply online under here. As PSU graduate student you will get approved after approximately one week.
There are four major companies that serve State College.
- Megabus (serving New York City, Pittsburg, Philadelphia etc.): The most reliable and fast bus service is provided by Megabus. Rates are generated based on demand and can be as low as a few bucks, but may go up to 50-60 USD for a ride from State College to New York. To get good deals, it is important to plan ahead and book early. If your travel plans change, you can exchange your tickets for a small fee with tickets for another time. Buses have power outlets and wifi, but both don’t always work. Please find more information online.
- GotoBus (serving New York City): The fastest bus service is provided by GotoBus. You can get to New York in less than four hours and the bus is usually quite punctual. However, in contrast to Megabus they don’t have any companies logos on their buses and you might miss the bus because you don’t find it. This probably won’t happen at the Walmart parking lot in State College where everything is fairly easy to overlook, but it might happen in the crowded street of New York City. Either way, Gotobus offers cheap rates if you need to book last minute when Megabus is already very expensive. Please find more information online.
- Greyhound (serving New York City, Pittsburg, Philadelphia etc.): The bus is rather slow because it has several stops on the way to bigger cities. In particular, you might have to wait for a while in Harrisburg or even need to switch bus. Also the pricing policy doesn’t make always sense, because it might be cheaper to buy seperately a ticket from State College to Harrisburg and then from Harrisburg to New York than buying one directly to New York (depending on available low price tickets). Greyhound is often a good deal if you want to go to Philadelphia or if it is the only bus going at the time you want to leave. Please find more information online.
- Fullington (serving New York City): Fullington bus has some good connections for PennState football games, but is usually rather expensive and not very fast. Some of its service is shared with Greyhound, so you might even take Fullington despite having booked Greyhound (or vice versa). If you take Fullington buses regulalarly, you can get a free trip. Please find more information online.
In order to travel around State College, it is probably the best to own a car. If you don’t want to buy a card, there are some car rental companies in State College and you can also use ZIP car. If you are under 25 years old, car rental is rather expansive because you need to pay an additional “under age fee”. There are a few ways to get around this that are explained here.
There is no train station in State College, but the Greyhound station in Harrisburg is directly at the train station. From there are plenty of options using Amtrak. Trains are usually more expansive than buses, but certainly more comfortable and equipped with reliable wifi.
The University Park Airport has flights to a few places which are usually pretty expensive. It always cheaper (but less convenient) to take a bus to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or New York City to take a flight from there.