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NEWS
August 4, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Regional rail riders looking to buy SEPTA's special passes for use during Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia next month have 24 hours to register for a chance to land them. After high demand during a first attempt to sell the passes overloaded the transit authority's website last month, SEPTA announced it will distribute tickets through a lottery with registration starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Users will have until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to sign up. All registrants will have the same chance to win no matter what time they sign up, officials say. SEPTA plans to distribute a total of 350,000 rail passes for the weekend of the papal visit - 175,000 for both Saturday Sept.
NEWS
August 3, 2015 | By Ben Finley and Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writers
The first signs of success - or trouble - related to Pope Francis' visit aren't likely to emerge near the Center City zone where the pontiff will draw historic crowds. They'll pop up miles away and hours earlier in towns such as Tullytown, Bucks County, or the Pennbrook neighborhood of Lansdale, Montgomery County. That's where tens of thousands of Philadelphia-bound pilgrims may flock into parking lots and train platforms more accustomed to crowds in the hundreds. Last week, Bucks County's Middletown Township said it would declare a state of emergency to pay for police overtime and other resources to accommodate the crush on the fourth weekend of September.
NEWS
August 1, 2015 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
The U.S. Secret Service said Thursday that the agency - which is heading security for the visit of Pope Francis in September - has not ordered Philadelphia businesses to close and did not dictate that SEPTA limit rail service that weekend. The agency instead stressed that Philadelphia would be "open for business" when the pope visits. Meanwhile, South Jersey sources confirmed that the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be closed, and some universities in the area outlined plans to shut down that weekend.
NEWS
July 30, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA will use a one-day online lottery to sell Regional Rail passes for the papal visit, transportation authority officials said Tuesday. A new website will open at 12:01 a.m. Monday and close at 11:59 p.m., and would-be buyers will be limited to 10 passes for each of the two days of the pope's visit in September. The link to the lottery will be available at SEPTA's website, www.septa.org . The lottery winners will be selected at random after the site closes. Winners will be notified by e-mail on Aug. 6, and they will then be given three days to pay for their passes.
NEWS
July 27, 2015 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
IF YOU LIKE SEPTA, you're not alone. While the city school district is flunking financially and the police department is too often suspect, the region's transit authority appears to be on the right track. Ridership on SEPTA's 13 regional rail lines hit an all-time high of 37.4 million trips in fiscal year 2015, the period from July 1 2014 through June 30, SEPTA announced yesterday. It was the third year in a row a ridership record was set, according to numbers the authority provided to the Daily News . On the financial side, at the end of FY15, SEPTA marked its 16th consecutive year of operating with a balanced budget, said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA Regional Rail trains were delayed Thursday afternoon by 45 to 60 minutes following a software failure in SEPTA's control center. Trains throughout the regional network were affected, starting at about 1:20 p.m., SEPTA spokesman Manuel Smith said. The software was essential for controlling rail interlockings and passenger announcements, Smith said, and all trains were halted. The software issues "were resolved at 1:40 p.m. and they were able to get railroad running again," Smith said.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA is paying $500,000 a year for information technology services to CapTech Consulting Inc., the company hired to design and build an e-commerce site on the agency's home page to sell special transit passes for the September papal visit. The site crashed within minutes of going live Monday morningand has remained down all week, as SEPTA considers hiring another outside vendor to sell the online passes if CapTech cannot solve the problems. The Wayne office of CapTech, a Richmond, Va.-based company, was awarded a three-year$1.5 million contract in March to perform information technology tasks for SEPTA.
NEWS
July 23, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA will not resume sales this week of special Regional Rail transit passes for the papal visit in September, following the Monday crash of its Web sales site shortly after it went live. The transit agency said Tuesday that it might continue trying to fix its e-commerce site to handle the high demand for the special passes, or it might hire an outside vendor to sell the passes online. SEPTA did not say when sales would resume. "An analysis of the activity yesterday shows that 54,000 customers visited the e-commerce site within the first minute after the site was launched," SEPTA said in a statement Tuesday.
NEWS
July 22, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA suspended its online sales of train passes for September's papal visit shortly after they began Monday morning, because demand to buy them overwhelmed the transit agency's website capacity. SEPTA will announce Tuesday its plans for resuming sales at www.septa.org/papalvisitphilly . It will provide a 24-hour notice before trying to restart online sales, the agency said. Most papal Regional Rail passes remain unsold, SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said Monday. "The majority of the passes are still there.
NEWS
July 22, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
IF YESTERDAY'S botched online sale of SEPTA regional-rail passes for the papal visit is any indication of what's in store when it comes to transportation during Pope Francis' visit in September - heaven help us. SEPTA's papal-pass site, which went live at 9 a.m., crashed almost immediately due to high volume. By 10:40 a.m., SEPTA officials had shut down the site and put the sale on hold. Sales will not resume today, but SEPTA is expected to announce today when sales will reopen.
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