Holidays in Philly

How to get a Christmas tree in Philly without a car

It’s easier than you might think.

Christmas tree
Flickr via Laura Knowlton
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Christmas tree season is among us. If you’re a car-less Philadelphian, the trip to get a tree can be difficult, but it needn’t be impossible. Whether you’re making a trip to a tree farm, hitting up a corner stand or walking out of Target with a tree in a box, you’ll need some way to lug that thing home (editor’s note: you can totally walk it home with a hand truck and a couple bungee cords, or haul it on a cargo bike).

But if you and your tree need a ride home, here’s how to do it:

SEPTA

SEPTA has no problems with trees on trolleys, subways, buses or Regional Rail. The transit agency just asks you bring only trees of reasonable size and keep your fake trees boxed.

 Uber and Lyft

Christmas trees are fine in Ubers and Lyfts, but you need approval from your driver. So once your ride is confirmed, call or text ahead of pickup. Uber also offered these tips:

  • Larger vehicles are available for request through the uberXL option
  • Don’t assume that your driver will have rope or some other way to secure a tree to the roof
  • Please remember to be courteous and clean up any pine needles or sap at the end of a trip (cleaning fees may apply if your driver reports an excessive mess after your ride)
  • The in-app tipping option provides a great way to thank your driver for going above and beyond

Cabs

Cabs will be tougher sell for your Christmas tree. Alex Friedman, general manager for 215-Get-A-Cab, which recently entered a taxi alliance with Freedom Taxi and PHL Taxi to better compete with ride-sharing services, said it’s “nothing we can help customers with this time of year.”

He blames the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

“The PPA is not allowing us to transport anything on the roof,” Friedman said. “We are highly regulated. We’re not like Uber that does what Uber wants.”

But the PPA begs to differ, and told Billy Penn Ubers and Lyfts can all transport Christmas trees. They just have to follow the same vehicle guidelines every driver in the Commonwealth does. So make sure your tree isn’t blocking the driver’s visibility and is properly secured for the ride. And maybe have a backup plan in case your driver is a grinch.

Want some more? Explore other Holidays in Philly stories.