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NEWS
August 7, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Perhaps an agency whose name begins with the word secret can't be expected to have a knack for communications. And perhaps faith is the evidence of things not seen. Fortunately, though, the Secret Service and local officials planning for Pope Francis' Philadelphia visit have belatedly begun to acknowledge that in worldly affairs, blind belief is no substitute for public information. Acknowledging the legitimate need for more of that, Mayor Nutter and other officials on Wednesday announced highway closures and the expansive boundaries of the Center City-plus "traffic box" to which private vehicles will be denied entry during the papal visit.
NEWS
August 6, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA papal passes weren't quite the hot ticket this week that they were last month. By the close of its Monday online lottery for Regional Rail passes for Pope Francis' visit in September, SEPTA received requests for 328,045 passes, leaving more than 20,000 unsold. That was a big shift from SEPTA's first try to sell passes online, on a first-come, first-served basis last month. An electronic stampede forced SEPTA to halt sales within minutes of opening its website July 20 because it crashed.
NEWS
August 6, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
ALMOST 22,000 Regional Rail passes remain for the weekend of Pope Francis' visit after the close of SEPTA's online papal pass lottery at 11:59 p.m. Monday, but it's still unclear which stations have passes remaining, said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. SEPTA has 175,000 passes available for each day of the papal visit on Sept. 26 and 27 - or 350,000 passes total. Williams said 38,068 people entered SEPTA's papal lottery. Each entrant could request up to 10 passes and a total of 328,045 passes were requested.
NEWS
August 5, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Update : SEPTA said early Tuesday it had received 38,013 entries. The number of passes requested should be known later in the day. Earlier Story: SEPTA's papal pass lottery attracted a steady stream of buyers Monday, but it appeared there would be unsold Regional Rail passes left when the lottery closed just before midnight. That was a big shift from SEPTA's first try to sell passes online, on a first-come, first-served basis, last month. An electronic stampede for passes forced SEPTA to halt sales within minutes of opening the website July 20 because it crashed.
NEWS
August 5, 2015
"THEY'RE closing what ?" With the Popenado just over the horizon, that phrase is heard often among titillated, proud, yet beginning-to-be-ticked-off Philadelphians. We love the idea of Pope Francis being here, but the actuality has us sliding toward lockdown, martial law lite. Is Snake Plissken in charge? They're fencing off Center City? Well, that's understandable, I guess. They're closing Regional Rail stations and rationing service? Well, maybe they have to do that to manage the crowds.
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.
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